Editorial: Decision to wait on dredging is a sound one

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, April 25, 2006

We believe a recent decision by the Shell Rock River Watershed District Board to wait for the contour map of the lake bottom to be finished in May or June so they could make estimates of how much materials would need to be dredged from the lake bottom is a sound one. The managers believed passing the motion later would not unduly stall the process.

Obtaining a dredging permit may take five years as it is.

The watershed district cannot get a permit from the Department of Natural Resources until it shows it has shut off the flow of pollution coming from upstream of Albert Lea Lake. The DNR also needs to know the approximate amount of material that will be removed from the lake bottom, as well as where the sediment will end up.

We applaud the managers who want to continue to see the project move forward. But waiting another month or two will not make a big difference in the long run. We are confident that all the managers will keep the dredging process moving forward as soon as the contour map and sediment estimates are finished, and when work on the upper watershed is complete, so phosphorus-loaded sediment will not re-pollute Albert Lea Lake.

We look forward to what dredging will do to advance tourism possibilities of the Blazing Star Trail, city of Albert Lea and Freeborn County as a whole. We also want to turn our natural resources over to our children and grandchildren better than we found them. We owe it to them.