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Why Hiawatha Golf Course is Environmentally and Economically Sustainable!

August 18, 2017

Hiawatha Golf Course is environmentally and financially sustainable. Here is why:

  • The effect of pumping on lake quality is negligible. The February Barr Engineering report indicates that approximately 80% of the pollution comes from Minnehaha Creek and 20% is stormwater inflow from the storm sewer inlet on the north side of the lake.*
  • Pumping does not harm deep groundwater.* Approximately 140 million gallons (58% of the total volume pumped) is simply recirculating surface groundwater inflows through the west side of Lake Hiawatha that is “re-pumped”.
  • Pumping represents on average 1% of total volume passing through Lake Hiawatha each year.*
  • Since the City finished a stormwater diversion project in 2011, an additional 50 million gallons of stormwater (20% of the total)* is piped into to the northwest corner of the golf course from storm sewers extending back to Chicago Avenue.
  • Pumping protects neighboring homes from flooding.*
  • Pumping costs $10,000 per year. Plan B, the reduced pumping scenario, is projected to cost millions of dollars to construct and $900,000 per year to maintain...forever.* Pumping at the current rate is the only proven way to protect neighboring properties and provides more flood storage volume than Plan B.
  • Pumping tests were done in 2015 and 2016. According to monthly rainfall statistics from the DNR web-site, 2015 and 2016 had more precipitation than normal. So, the pumping volumes recorded would be higher than normal.
  • Historic and current ground settlement rates at the golf course are unknown (pg 22).* Contrast this with a MPRB document stating that parts of the golf course WILL continue to settle and therefore we WILL have to pump more groundwater in the future. The rate of settlement, total settlement, and future groundwater pumping is unknown because no geotechical study has been conducted at Hiawatha Golf Course.
  • The golf course is financially sustainable. The average annual net revenue for twenty year period is $120,000. This includes the past 6 years which were impacted by wet conditions, flooding and recovery, resulting in a reduction in the number of holes available for play. (pg 30)*
  • The golf course is resilient -- 2 major floods (1987 and 2014) and the golf course revived with only minor investments (essentially only needed to plant grass seed).
  • A floodplain is an appropriate location for a golf course. It is better to flood a golf course than homes and streets.
  • The berm protecting the course and homeowners has held for decades and the recently expressed concerns about the stability have not been substantiated. To date, no geotechnical evaluation of the berm has been completed. If evaluation is necessary, the study can be completed and repairs and/or changes can be made with part of the 1.1 million dollars allocated by FEMA.
  • The level of Lake Hiawatha might be lowered by one foot by removing weirs and excavating Minnehaha Creek downstream. This would help reduce pumping and alleviate flooding of the golf course.* It would be a good use of the $1.1 million allocated by FEMA for fixes and improvements to Hiawatha Golf Course.

  • There are ample reasons contained in the MPRB’s consultant’s report to keep 18 holes of golf at Hiawatha.

    Let your park board, city council, and state representatives hear from you!

    *Source Feb. 2017 Barr Engineering groundwater report commissioned by the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board (MPRB)

    Information compiled by, August 18, 2017