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What is the MPRB Proposing for
Hiawatha Golf Course?

PART 1 - The New Hiawatha Swamp!

Flooding of a great expanse of the golf course!

The MPRB Says - Alternative A would have 16 acres of wetland. Alternative B will have 65 acres of wetland. This is an increase of 49 acres of wetland on the golf course property. The total golf course property is considered to be 146 acres for both Alternative A and Alternative B. pp. 37-40

The MPRB Says - "The open water areas [of Alternative B] will be composed of wetland areas greater than 6.6' (78") deep, open channels and creek and Lake Hiawatha, which while not being considered wetlands will have improved ecological value over the existing conditions." p. 17

Our Concerns - The addition of this increased acreage of wetlands in Alternative B, will bring permanent standing water within a block of the low-lying homes on the north and west sides of the golf course. Water problems with homes and streets near Lake Nokomis (water in basements, sinkholes and broken sewer pipes) due to previously expanded wetlands have shown that bringing water this close to homes will, most likely, cause the same water problems for the homeowners near the golf course.

Our Concerns - The MPRB says that the wetlands will have "improved ecological value". Not everything has to be the perfect ecological system. If that were true, we would have to get rid of all of the modern day structures that we have today!! We do make trade-offs for the benefit of human beings!!

Let's get rid of the trees!

The MPRB Says - Alternative B would lose approximately 189 trees "due to flooded soil condition in and around the expanded wetlands, as well as losses due to contruction of the open channel and the new Minnehaha Creek channel." They say more trees would be planted in their place. p. 17

Our Concerns - Do we really want to kill 189 trees, just to create more swampland? And, then spend more money replanting trees? How much is the cost of removal of these trees, and the planting of new trees? Where will this money come from?

Lowering of the level of Lake Hiawatha is not worth it!

The MPRB Says - "Through the water management alternatives selection process, the City, MPRB, and MCWB staff eliminated the lowering of Lake Hiawatha as part of the management alternatives." Therefore, "Lake Hiawatha lakeshore and Minnehaha Creek stream bed wetlands were excluded for this analysis; wetlands downstream of Lake Hiawatha are unchanged under both proposed Alternatives and were also excluded from the alternatives analysis." p. 10

The MPRB Says - "Alternative A assumes that the water levels may rise to 811.6 MSL once every 10 years." For Alternative B, the "hydrologic reconnection [of the golf course to the lake] raises the normal water level for this area {the golf course and the lake] to 812.8 MSL". pp. 16-17

Our Concerns - The MPRB did an analysis of whether Lake Hiawatha could be lowered by excavating Minnehaha Creek downstream of the lake. Their analysis is described in the MPRB document, Water Management Alternatives, June 21,2017, Section 4.0 Lowering of Lake Hiawatha, p. 20-22. The analysis determined that Lake Hiawatha would be lowered by 0.6 feet. While this may not seem to be much of a change, the MPRB plans do nothing to solve the overall water problem. In fact, they indicate that the level of the lake and flooded golf course will rise in Alternative B by 1.2 feet. This should be alarming to vulnerable homeowners near the golf course as the property will lose over a foot of capacity for flood storage.

Let's create an open channel from the northwest corner to the lake!

The MPRB Says - "An open channel is proposed to be constructed in the northwest quadrant of the site under both alternatives, although the two channel locations and lengths are different. In Alternative A, the open channel primarily serves a drainage function to help alleviate flooding while in Alternative B, it helps address flooding while also integrating with the proposed wetlands/ floodplain. Channel length changes, due to modifications to Minnehaha Creek as part of the proposed changes, was used as a surrogate for evaluating stream functional lift. An important aspect of stream functional lift is reconnection of stream to its floodplain; this was not quantified in the analysis as grading plans were not developed as part of this assessment." p 13

The MPRB Says - For Alternative A, "the open channel along the northern and eastern edge of the golf course will help alleviate flooding in the watershed to the north (and overflows into the golf course)." p 16

Our Concerns - For Alternative A (the 18-hole golf course), how will this channel dump water into the lake without breaking the berm; would you need to pump the water over the berm? And, if you break the berm, how do you prevent back-flow from the lake onto the golf course. And, where is this channel on the eastern edge of the golf course? There is already a large storm sewer there that dumps a lot of water into the lake.

Our Concerns - For both alternatives, it is stated that the purpose of this channel is to alleviate flooding in the neighborhood to the northwest of the golf course by channeling water to the lake/flooded golf course. It seems that this will just add more water to an already overfilled Lake Hiawatha. It also appears from the above statement that this approach has not been adequately modeled to determine if this channel will even work, since no grading plans have been developed.

The MPRB will diligently manage this property!

The MPRB Says - In years 1 through 3 of the creation of Alternative B, hydrology restoration and grading, seeding, and intensive monitoring for invasive species will need to be done, with spot sprays for invasive species, and a prescribed burn in year 3. Years 3 through 10 will require spot sprays and prescribed burns. p.20

Our Concerns - They indicate that they will need to spray herbicides and do controlled burns to protect the new native plants from invasive species. How will all of the herbicide spraying and smoke from controlled burns affect the people who live in the neighborhood?

The MPRB Says - Integrated Pest Management practices will need to be implemented on the property and an Adaptive Management Program will be put together which will be "continually evaluated and adjusted based on the management outcomes". "Vegetation maintenance for all of these [native plant] communities, once established, will need to be funded annually within the MPRB budget. During the initial establishment period, funding for management/maintenance should be considered part of the project implementation budget for at least 1 - 5 years. Thereafter, continuous management is required either contractually or by MPRB forces." pp. 18-20

Our Concerns - The MPRB talks a lot in this document about these elaborate management practices that will be done. Yet, they have shown with the golf course that they don't have the will to maintain the golf course in a proper manner. Dredging of the creek has gone by the wayside, and trees have not been replaced. Even replacement of a broken hot dog machine in the clubhouse was not replaced for months. This, for a golf course that brings in its own revenue. Is the MPRB really going to follow through with all of these high-intensity, high-dollar management practices once we have Swamp Hiawatha? And, where will this money come from on a property that will generate very little income, if any.

Regulatory Oversight!

The MPRB Says - Alternative B "would be subject to a higher level of regulatory oversight than Alternative A, resulting in a longer anticipated permitting timeline (and higher costs)". p. 49

Our Concerns - Where will the money come from for Alternative B? The golf course (Alternative A) is there and is currently producing revenue.

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