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Lake Bronson dam project on track for bids in January

By Anna Jauhola
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has completed one of the final phases required prior to bidding out the Lake Bronson Dam reconstruction.
“We are on track to have final plans by the end of the year,” said Jason Boyle, state dam safety engineer in a phone interview before Christmas. “We are planning to go out to bid in January.”
At the beginning of December, the DNR released the record of decision stating the project would not need an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). The record of decision showed two sets of comments from the public comment period, and the DNR’s responses.
The State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) stated it is working with the DNR and other agencies regarding historic properties. The entirety of Lake Bronson State Park, and its many structures including the dam, are on the National Historic Register as a historic district. The office acknowledged the environmental assessment worksheet (EAW) “accurately reflects the current status of review and summarizes the known historic properties that may be adversely affected” by this project.
Boyle said the DNR just submitted its report to SHPO, which will then consult with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for the permitting process.
The Two Rivers Watershed District also registered eight comments regarding the project to include drawdown concerns, permitting, sediment issues, physical effects or alterations to stream flow, habitat and water quality. The DNR noted the TRWD’s comments, specifically stating the agency will coordinate with the watershed district regarding permitting and its overall plan.
The DNR’s next step while the project is out for bids is to complete the permitting needed for the project. They will need a few permits from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers — sections 401 and 404 of the Clean Water Act, which pertain to water quality and dredging and fill material placed within wetlands for construction; a permit regarding endangered species; in conjunction with the SHPO office, a permit regarding historic properties.
The DNR itself will for sure issue a permit regarding public waters and dam safety. Other permits will be issued if required for water appropriation, Wetland Conservation Act and endangered species.
The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency must also issue permits regarding pollution discharge and stormwater construction and water quality.
The DNR may also need to get permitting from Kittson County regarding right of way on CSAH 28, which runs over the dam and from FEMA for flood plain mapping revisions.
“We’re still hoping for late spring to begin construction,” Boyle said. “But it’ll be going out to bid for quite a while. We have to have all the permits in place before we start construction.”
He said there hasn’t been interest from contractors yet.
The public can view information about the project at https://www.dnr.state.mn. us/state_parks/lake-bronson-dam-replacement-project.html.
The public can view the Record of Decision and EAW at https://www.dnr. state.mn.us/input/environmentalreview/lake-bronson-dam-eaw.html.

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