Fountain Lake restoration project to continue

Published 9:27 am Thursday, January 26, 2017

On Friday, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources issued a dam safety permit to the Shell Rock River Watershed District. This permit enables the district to move forward with the construction of the confined disposal facility — better known as the future home of the bottom of Fountain Lake.

“We originally submitted this dam safety permit in June 2016 and since that time have worked tenaciously with the DNR to secure their permission to proceed with the construction of this containment facility,” Andy Henschel, director of field operations for the district, said.

The district has scheduled a special meeting for today to authorize the contractor, Frattolone Company, to proceed with the construction of the CDF.

Email newsletter signup

“This is another huge step forward for the Fountain Lake Restoration Project,” District Administrator Brett Behnke said. “We were in a holding pattern waiting for agency review and approval, and the dam safety permit will allow us to proceed to the next step in the process – the finalization of the location and depth of the dredge cuts for the final project.”

“We plan to submit the DNR waters permit, which is required for dredging, in the next few weeks,” Henschel said. “We have already commenced discussions with regional DNR staff to ensure open communication and timely delivery of information onward.”

Another significant step occurred in St. Paul this week, where bills were introduced in the

Minnesota Senate and House. Bills SF253 and HF446 were introduced extending the local-option sales tax in the city of Albert Lea to fund district water quality improvement projects.

The bill contains the language that was approved by the Watershed District and Albert Lea City Council and is being promoted by the Lakes Foundation of Albert Lea.

“We’ve worked hard work to get to this point, and I’d like to thank the residents of Albert Lea for their overwhelming support and our partners at the Watershed District and the city for their efforts,” said Laura Cunningham, president of the Lakes Foundation. “We’re excited to be leading this campaign. We have come so far in improving the water quality of our lakes and the quality of life in Albert Lea. We’re looking forward to building upon the good work that has already been done.”

“We appreciate the leadership of Rep. (Peggy) Bennett and Sen. (Dan) Sparks for leading our efforts in St. Paul,” she said. “We know from past experience it takes a lot of hard work to pass this type of legislation.”