The Minnesota DNR will appeal a Ramsey County District Court ruling regarding water management of White Bear Lake and its surrounding groundwater, the agency announced in a news release Tuesday, Sept. 26.
In the release, the DNR said that without appeal, the court’s ruling would place unnecessary burdens on more than 500,000 White Bear Lake area residents, and immediately halt important development within five miles of the lake – stalling road and utility improvements, business growth, and residential construction.
Also in the release, the DNR said that the judge’s ruling – which is not rooted in the best available science – would not significantly help the lake reach the court’s desired water level, and would likely set a new statewide precedent imposing similar burdens and restrictions on residents, businesses, and communities across Minnesota.
Under the District Court’s ruling, if water levels remain below 923.5 feet above sea level in White Bear Lake, new irrigation and development restrictions would be imposed on area residents and businesses. According to the DNR, data show, however, that White Bear Lake’s water levels have registered below this proposed 923.5-foot trigger level in 48 out of the past 58 years. And according to the best available science, the DNR has concluded these new restrictions would have little impact on raising or maintaining the court’s desired water levels in White Bear Lake.
The DNR has until Oct. 30 to appeal the court’s decision, but is announcing its decision now because many area communities are concerned with the ruling and want to know how the DNR will proceed, the agency said in the release. During the appeal process, the DNR will work with permit holders in the White Bear Lake area to implement some elements of the ruling. The agency will be talking soon with communities about how it will approach this in as collaborative a manner as possible.