The reclamation of Lake Redwood has been a topic for discussion for the past several years, and the project was brought up in the Minnesota legislature once again during its 2013 session.
The proposal to use bonding dollars to dredge the reservoir, which has been described as a wide and deep spot in the Redwood River, would cost approximately $7.825 million, which is what District 16 Sen. Gary Dahms proposed in a bill he has authored.
The Senate capital investment committee, which proposes the allocations for bonding funds, was in Marshall Thursday afternoon to hear a presentation about the Lake Redwood proposal, which was one of five presentations the committee heard that day, including two from Montevideo and two from Marshall.
The capital investment committee members have been on a fact-finding tour in recent days and spent time visiting with representatives from several of the projects that have been proposed.
Approximately $3.8 billion in bonding requests have been made, and the committee is going to narrow that amount down to the bonding total as directed by the legislature during the 2014 session.
Some have speculated the bonding bill is going to be in the $850-900 million range during the second year of the two-year state biennium. This second session is one dedicated to approving a bonding bill.
“The fact that we are part of the tour is good news,” said Dahms, adding this is one more step in the right direction.
Traditionally projects with regional significance rise to the top, and local representatives would say this is one of them.
According to Doering, the regional significance has to do with recent mandates to improve the total maximum daily load of specific items flowing into Lake Pepin.
If Lake Redwood was reclaimed and the 650,000 cubic yards of sediment re-moved, it could serve its purpose of collecting sediment that would then not end up in the Minnesota River.
Keeping the sediment in the reservoir, therefore, means being able to ensure that sediment is not ending up farther downstream in the state’s water.
Naturally, there are local benefits, too, as a reclaimed Lake Redwood would help improve the flow of water that is then used to create energy through a new hydroelectric plant in the community. That plant could help save residents money, as they are allowed to have lower electric rates.
During the years Lake Redwood has been in existence, it has also served as a recreational destination for the community and the region.
There were times in its history, said Doering, when the lake had chartered boats, water skiing and plenty of other activity.
As the river, which once had a depth, on average, of 20 feet, is now more like two to three feet, is now filled with sediment, there is no recreational value.
Page 2 of 2 - Doering also said the good news is through the efforts of organizations, such as the Redwood-Cottonwood Rivers Control Area (RCRCA) the amount of sediment coming into the reservoir has been reduced.
He said it took 75 years for the sediment to settle and fill in the reservoir at a much higher rate, he said with the new sediment load it is going to take more like 150 years for it to fill in again. Funds have been used to help put in good management practices to help reduce the sediment in the water.
Local representatives may be called on to testify again during the legislative session in 2014, and the final determination is going to be made sometime early next year.