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Roseau Lake rehabilitation project to proceed

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources said on Monday that an environmental assessment worksheet determined the environmental impact statement on the project is not necessary, said Randy Pracher, Minnesota DNR Roseau Lake Wildlife Management Area supervisor.

Randy Prachar
Randy Prachar (right), manager of the Roseau River Wildlife Management Area, and Jason Braaten, Roseau Roseau River Watershed District board member, talk about a proposed project to reduce flood damage and enhance wildlife habitat in a flood-prone lake bottom northwest of Roseau, Minn. , in this 2017 phoot. (Photo/ Brad Dokken, Grand Forks Herald)
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ROSEAU, Minn. – An environmental impact statement is not needed for the proposed Roseau Lake rehabilitation project, a Minnesota state agency announced Monday, Aug. 23.

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources said an environmental assessment worksheet determined the environmental impact statement on the project, which is designed to reduce flooding in the lake’s basin and to enhance wildlife, waterfowl and other species, is not necessary, according to Randy Pracher, Minnesota DNR Roseau Lake Wildlife Management Area supervisor.

An environmental assessment worksheet is a short document designed to lay out a project’s basic facts so it can be determined if an environmental impact statement is needed before the project begins.

The Roseau Lake project has drawn ire from some area farmers who say it will render productive farmland unusable. The contentious project has been in the works for seven years, and the proposed system of dikes that are designed to mitigate flooding have been met with resistance by about 50 farmers who formed an organization called the Roseau County Landowners Coalition.

The RCLC is working with the Institute for Justice, a national nonprofit organization, to halt the Roseau Lake project. and over the years has had meetings with the DNR to discuss their concerns and held protests against it. The decision not to require an environmental impact statement has dealt a blow to property rights, the Institute for Justice said.

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“Now, Roseau farmers must rely on making their voices heard by elected leaders and government officials to stop the project because the environmental review process has failed them,” the Institute for Justice said in a news release.

Construction of the Roseau Lake rehabilitation project won’t begin for at least several months, and likely not for a year, Pracher said.

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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