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Reasons For Concerns about MPRB's Plans for Hiawatha Golf Course

August 14, 2017

Throughout the public process, over the past 2 years, information has been presented by the MPRB staff that has proved to be misrepresented or false. Here are some of the items that we have fact checked:

  • MPRB stance: The pumping of water from Hiawatha Golf Course is detrimental to Lake Hiawatha. Their Barr Engineering report says that the existing pumping is "likely to have minimal ecological impact".
  • MPRB stance: The volume of pumping was a surprise, once it was measured. Among other things, a stormwater diversion project in recent years diverted water to the golf course, so increased pumping should be no surprise to the MPRB. Their projects have caused it.
  • MPRB stance: Insinuations have been made that reduced pumping of water from the golf course is needed to lower phosphorus levels in Lake Hiawatha. Their Bar Engineering report says that the golf course contributes less than 1.0 percent of the total seasonal phosphorus load to Lake Hiawatha, so reduced pumping will do little or nothing to reduce the posphorus load.
  • MPRB stance: The golf course is sinking. Their Barr Engineering report said that there is no data to determine if the golf course is sinking.
  • MPRB presentation: Figures were given regarding cost per acre of maintaining different types of property: wetlands, general parks, golf courses. Golf courses showed the highest cost. This is misleading because the golf course generates its own revenue, so the net cost to the taxpayer is the least.
  • MPRB stance: The DNR is driving a reduction in pumping. A citizen finally got the MPRB to admit that the DNR is not driving the reduction in pumping; the DNR is waiting for the city to decide on a plan.
  • MPRB Stance: If the golf course is continued, there will be conditions on the pumping permit. The DNR has told us that they do not put conditions on their pumping permits.
  • MPRB Stance: Removing the weirs in Minnehaha Creek downstream and excavating the creek would not lower the level of Lake Hiawatha. Their Barr Engineering report says that this could lower the lake level by up to 1 foot.
  • These and other misrepresentations by the MPRB have shaken any confidence we had in their honesty and ability to protect our interests.

    The MPRB's future plan for the golf course property, Plan B, has us concerned. Here are some of the concerns:

  • There is no vetted future plan for the golf course property at this time, including income projections.
  • MPRB stance: Reduced pumping and flooding of the golf course property will protect at risk homes from flooding. We believe that these homes will be at greater risk of flooding due to the decreased capacity of the golf course property to contain water in the case of a catastrophic storm as occured in 1987 and 2014.
  • The MPRB proposes to build new structures on the golf course property. This property is suitable for a golf course with no structures, but unlikely to sustain future structures without using additional fill or pilings.
  • The MPRB expects that 189 trees on the property will be killed due to the flooding of the property.
  • The MPRB will increase the size of the current parking lot, and add 4 more parking lots on this flood plain.
  • The MPRB expects that spraying and prescribed burns will be needed for 1-25 years to protect their desired native plants from invasive plants. This, in a heavily residential neighborhood?

    Information compiled by Kathryn Kelly, August 14, 2017