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Minnesota Department of Natural Resources needs more time on disputed Roseau Lake project

The DNR originally had planned to release an environmental assessment worksheet in late July, but postponed the release until late August because the state agency working on it needed more time, said Randy Pracher, Roseau River Wildlife Management Area manager.

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One of two 50-foot trailers members of the Roseau County Landowners Coalition was parked Tuesday, July 28, 2020, in Roseau, Minn., to oppose a flood control and wildlife project proposed by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources and the Roseau River Watershed District. Submitted photo
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The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources will release an environmental assessment worksheet for the Roseau Lake rehabilitation project next month.

The DNR originally had planned to release the EAW in late July, but postponed the release until late August because the state agency working on it needed more time, said Randy Pracher, Minnesota DNR Roseau River Wildlife Management Area supervisor.

An environmental assessment worksheet is a short document designed to lay out the basic facts of a project so it can be determined if an environmental impact statement is needed before the project proceeds, according to the Minnesota Environmental Quality Board website.

The Roseau Lake Project, designed to reduce flooding in the lake's basin and to enhance wildlife, waterfowl and other species , has been has become contentious as some landowners affected by it are concerned it will damage or destroy their farmland. The Minnesota Legislature appropriated about $2.8 million from the Outdoor Heritage Fund for the Roseau Lake flood mitigation project in 2016.

A group called the Roseau Landowners Coalition, made up of about 50 farmers, was formed to stop the Roseau Lake Project, and wants the Minnesota DNR to require an environmental impact statement on the project.

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"“We have been here for generations. This misguided project has no real public benefit to justify the huge cost to us farmers,” Terry Kveen, whose family has farmed their land in Roseau County for more than 100 years, said in an Institute for Justice news release. “This project will not result in meaningful flood reduction or foster a new wildlife habitat. It will simply destroy our very productive farmland and our family legacy."

The Roseau Landowners Coalition is working alongside the Institute for Justice, a national nonprofit organization, which is concerned about landowners rights, to halt the Roseau Lake Project.

Last week, the Roseau County Landowners Association had a booth at the Roseau County Fair, where more than 200 people stopped and wrote letters in opposition to the project to the DNR, according to a news release from the Roseau County Landowners Coalition.

Related Topics: AGRICULTURE
Ann is a journalism veteran with nearly 40 years of reporting and editing experiences on a variety of topics including agriculture and business. Story ideas or questions can be sent to Ann by email at: abailey@agweek.com or phone at: 218-779-8093.
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