Commission says no need for EIS on Dead Lake plan

Field Editor

Perham, Minn. After a lengthy public hearing on March 19, the
Otter Tail County Planning and Zoning Commission voted 7-3 not to
recommend the county board require an environmental impact
statement (EIS) for a proposed development on Dead Lake.

“It was a very disappointing conclusion,” says local property
owner Spencer Schram, co-chair of the Dead Lake Committee, which is
concerned about potential environmental impacts from the
project.

Dead Lake is a large, shallow water body that attracts migrating
waterfowl. As now proposed, the development would put 139 homes
into a cluster development. Locals say they are concerned that the
project’s scale will greatly diminish water quality and wildlife
habitat.

The Minnesota DNR and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
recommended the county ask the developer to complete an EIS. Paul
Stolen, DNR environmental review specialist, says the agency is
concerned that boating activity in the shallow waters will stir up
bottom sediments and the increased number of boats on the lake will
make it less attractive to migrating waterfowl.

“We feel very strongly confident in our conclusions about the
habitat quality and waterfowl impacts,” Stolen said. Stolen says
the developer has addressed terrestrial impacts of the project and
has scaled down the original proposal by 12 units. The developer
also agreed to support a no-wake zone near in shallow bays where
docks are proposed.

The issue was going before the county board after Outdoor News
press time on Tuesday. The board could call for an EIS, defer a
decision for 30 days, send it back to the planning commission for
more information, or allow the development to proceed. Schram says
his group will follow the issue regardless the outcome of the
meeting.

“This ain’t over and won’t be over for some time,” Schram says.
“We intend to pursue all legal means.”

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