July 5th, 2014
Last year, the legislature directed three agencies to get to work on rulemaking for silica sand mining. Minnesota’s DNR was tasked with the “reclamation” aspects of silica sand mining, and reclamation is nothing new for the DNR, it’s something over which they do indeed have regulatory jurisdiction.
The Silica Sand RulemakingAdvisory Committee has been meeting for months… and months… and months… but the DNR has not produced any reclamation draft rules (oops, first typed “daft”) for the committee to review.
Some suggestions and issues to be aware of were raised based on Wisconsin practice, and hopefully they’re taking that into account.
Now here’s some pertinent information. There’s an extensive article in today’s Rochester Post Bulletin, issues that should be taken into consideration when the Rulemaking Advisory Committee addresses mining reclamation… dare I say REVIEWS DRAFT RULES FOR RECLAMATION???
Some roads near Cascade Lake Park in Rochester bear names like Beach View, Cascade Beach and Beach Lake. Some day, the road signs will be more descriptive of the area, but for now part of the lake shore is lined with big piles of sand and gravel still being mined there.
Cascade Lake Park has been a decades-long project centered on turning the gravel mining areas along Cascade Creek into a 100-acre lake and surrounding park with a public beach, fishing piers, a boat launch and trails linking it to the rest of the city.
According to a 2005 master plan for the project, mining activity was expected to be wrapped up in 2007 or 2008. But the economic downturn slowed the demand for the mined materials and consequently delayed the lake’s completion, said Park and Forestry Division Head Mike Nigbur.
“They are delays that are necessary to do what we want to do out there,” Wojcik said. “We could force the issue and just go ahead with the park, but the reality is we really want to have that big beautiful lake out there, so they need to keep mining.”
There are some concerns with simultaneous construction activity and park development, Nigbur said, but there are ways to mitigate conflict and start doing some projects sooner rather than later. In addition to the trails, that could include starting to clear land area for a beach, Nigbur said.