Shell Rock River Watershed District takes another step forward on Fountain Lake dredging project

On Aug. 1 the Shell Rock River Watershed District submitted an environmental assessment worksheet to the Environmental Quality Board. The worksheet became available for agency comment and review on Aug. 8 and will remain open for agency comment through Sept. 7.

“The EAW is a comprehensive review process covering both the confined disposal facility and Fountain Lake dredging process,” said Andy Henschel, director of field operations for the SRRWD. “This is a necessary step required to move forward the permitting process for the Fountain Lake Restoration project. We look forward to reviewing the agency comments in September and addressing all inquires.”

A total of 12 permits and/or approvals are being applied for by the SRRWD for the project. Permitting agencies include the Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources, Federal Aviation Administration, Freeborn County, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, Minnesota Department of Transportation, Minnesota Pollution Control Agency and the United States Army Corps of Engineers.

The SRRWD initiated agency outreach meetings in the fall 2013 to allow agency representatives the opportunity to be prepared for the Fountain Lake Restoration project permitting applications. While it was originally the SRRWD’s expectation that the EAW would not be required to obtain the CDF permit, the Department of Natural Resources required this point in the process and the SRRWD welcomed the opportunity to again talk about the project. The SRRWD will continue to work through agency requests and requirements, some of which may lengthen or delay progress to the project, as the district respects and values agency requirements and input.


More Dredging Updates

The CDF is at 100 percent design and engineering and is out for contractor bids. The bids are due Aug. 30 and the selected bid will be awarded on Sept. 23. A pre-construction meeting will then take place on Oct. 3 to review responsibilities and duties.

Construction can begin on Oct. 10 with the CDF cell substantiation completion  ready to accept drudge slurry on or before July 1, 2017.

The SRRWD Board and staff are working with design engineers from Natural Resource Technology to establish preliminary dredge cuts. The district displayed a map of the draft dredge cuts at the Freeborn County Fair via the SRRWD booth in the conservation building and discussed the map with interested fairgoers during daily manned-booth hours.

The district has been in continued discussions with the city of Albert Lea manager and engineer on locations near the lake for staging areas, pipeline routes and other technical aspects as part of the dredging project. Likewise, the CDF project was presented to the Freeborn County Commissioners to obtain their approval on the conditional use permit. According to a press release, the SRRWD remains appreciative of the positive nature of these continued discussions.

The Mission of the Shell Rock River Watershed District is to implement reasonable and necessary improvements to the water-related and other natural resources of the district. For more information on this project and other work of the district, go to


© 2015 Shell Rock River Watershed District, 305 S 1st Avenue, Albert Lea, MN 56007