DNR is proposing to return four Renville County watercourses to the state's public waters inventory

Staff Writer
Redwood Falls Gazette

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is seeking public comments on its proposal to make corrections to the Public Waters Inventory (PWI) by returning four watercourses in Renville County to the PWI.

The PWI is used to identify waters that meet the statutory definition of public water and are regulated by the DNR for the public’s benefit.

The DNR has determined that these four watercourses are altered or natural watercourses, each of which has a total drainage area greater than two square miles, thus meeting the statutory definition of a public watercourse.

As public waters, these watercourses have been and will remain subject to all applicable public waters regulations, regardless of whether they are included in the PWI.

Once returned to the PWI, these watercourses would be easily identified as being subject to public water regulations. If these watercourses are added back to the PWI, as proposed, then they will also be added to the buffer protection map and be subject to vegetative buffer requirements under Minnesota’s buffer law.

In 2017, 640 miles of watercourses in 70 counties were removed from the PWI through a DNR commissioner’s order. The changes were a result of the DNR buffer mapping project.

Part of this effort revealed that some watercourses were not clearly identified as public waters at the time of the original inventory in the early 1980s.

These watercourses were incorrectly identified as public ditches at the time of the original inventory, when in actuality they were not part of a public drainage system.

This led to landowners not being properly notified of a public watercourse adjacent to their property.

In its 2017 order, the DNR determined it was necessary to remove the watercourses subject to this earlier error from the PWI, given the lack of landowner notice.

The watercourses proposed to be returned to the PWI are in the following locations:

• Limbo Creek – Ericson Township sections 30 and 31, Sacred Heart Town-ship section 6 and Hawk Creek Township sections 1, 12, 11, 14, 15 and north half of 22.

• Sacred Heart Creek – Sacred Heart Township, sections 1, 2, 12, 13, 24, 25, 26, 35, 36

• Outlet of County Ditch 130 – Beaver Falls Township, section 8

• Unnamed Stream – Cairo Township, sections 31, 32

The DNR will accept written comments on this proposal until 4:30 p.m. Nov. 11. Written comments should be submitted to Public Waters Inventory Corrections, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, 500 Lafayette Road, St. Paul, MN 55155-4025 or PWIreview.dnr@state.mn.us.

Questions may be submitted by e-mail , U.S. mail or by calling (651) 259-5654.