The preserve Camp Coldwater Coalition is deeply
concerned by the memorandum from the Minnesota Board of Water and Soil
Resources (BWSR), dated May 10, 2000.
In this memorandum the area north of the Highway 62 and Highway 55 interchange,
including the Coldwater Spring outlet is recommended to be part of the
Minnehaha Creek Watershed District (MCWD). However the immediate area
south of Highway 62 and the highway itself was recommended to go to the
Lower Minnesota River Watershed District (LMRWD).
Preserve Camp Coldwater Coalition believes that there is a significant
chance that the underground water flows that feed the Coldwater Spring
run underneath Highway 55 and 62. Furthermore the natural hydrology boundary
is indeed south of Highway 62.
In the May 10 memorandum, BWSR states, "Surface water hydrology has in
the past been the primary determinant for the setting of a district's
boundary. We believe surface water hydrology should again be the primary
determinant of the expanded district boundaries.
Parcel configuration, commonality of land use, and the desires of land
occupiers should be given consideration, however each is less important
than surficial hydrology is in setting the boundary. Where possible BWSR
should accommodate land occupiers as long as it does not impose an inappropriate
The final recommendation by BWSR is to break up a natural hydrology boundary.
Also the memorandum dated May 10th does not follow what the public was
told on April 27th, that public testimony will be accepted until 12 noon
Preserve Camp Coldwater Coalition understands the desire to keep storm
sewers and all airport property within one watershed for convenience of
present and future projects, but believes that protection of the Camp
Coldwater Spring is paramount over convenience, and that the natural hydrology
boundary MUST be within one watershed.
The artificial political boundary that has been recommended has caused
the MCWD, the only watershed with groundwater regulations, to try and
withdraw their petition to the area on the grounds that if they cannot
regulate construction of the highway 55/62 interchange and associated
storm sewers that run under the highway, they do not want to be responsible
for the resultant outflow of water at the Coldwater Spring outlet.
The preliminary storm sewer construction, that has required jack hammering
into the limestone and bedrock, already has damaged or destroyed underground
water supplies or springs to the Minnehaha Creek valley. Given that no
hydrology study or dye tracings have been done to determine water source(s)
or route(s), it is very likely that continued construction WILL damage
the Coldwater Spring.
Placing Highway 62/55 interchange into LMRWD will not carry out BWSRs
mission statement that they "assist local governments to manage and conserve
their irreplaceable water and soil resources." The LMRWD does not currently
have the groundwater regulations necessary to adequately protect the groundwater
flow to the Coldwater Spring.
The MCWD has revised their regulations to accommodate groundwater to try
and protect the spring. By not allowing the potential recharge area around
the Coldwater Spring to receive the newly updated regulations does a grave
disservice to watershed quality, and sets a terrible precedence. It may
also cause the destruction of the Coldwater Spring itself.
Preserve Camp Coldwater Coalition questions weather
it is a conflict of interest to have individuals who serve and represent
the Metropolitan Council, Metropolitan Airport Commission Deicing Task
Force, and Watershed Boards also serve as the regulating authority of
BWSR who oversees the actions of some of the other groups. This is the
current situation, and it gives an air of poorly planned self-regulation.
The Coldwater area is in desperate need of adequate watershed protection
to ensure that present and future construction projects will not destroy
this unique and irreplaceable resource. The area is truly invaluable and
completely irreplaceable given the fact that the area is recognized as
the birthplace of Minnesota by the State Historical Society, the spring
feeds a stream and falls in Fort Snelling State Park, it is, according
to a study by MnDOT, likely Traditional Cultural Property and a Sacred
Site under Executive Order 13007 due to it's extensive connections to
the Dakota and Ojibway Indians.
However the recommendation of BWSR places the LMRWD in a position that
they are ill equipped to deal with. If this recommendation is followed
construction of Highways 55 and 62 will likely have proceeded and possibly
be completed long before the LMRWD could ever produce the regulations
necessary to adequately protect Coldwater Spring and recharge area, which
is in fact, outside of LMRWDs natural hydrology boundary.
Due to the delicate nature of the area and that ample evidence exists
from the hydrology study of Kelton Barr, hydrologist and, preliminary
construction that proves current plans have seriously damaged water flow
to Minnehaha Creek valley, Preserve Camp Coldwater Coalition believes
that the current recommendation runs directly against BWSR mission to
conserve irreplaceable water resources.
Preserve Camp Coldwater Coalition strongly recommends and requests that
the Coldwater area go to the MCWD up to the natural hydrology boundary.
We also recommend in the strongest possible terms, that under no circumstance,
the Coldwater area is continued to be left out of any watershed protection
whatsoever due to infighting between BWSR, LMRWD and, MCWD.
We ask that you do all that you can too ensure proper and adequate protection
to Camp Coldwater and surrounding area.