News from the Board of the
Lake Shamineau Lake Improvement District
Message to Subscribers

To Lake Shamineau Property Owners, Neighbors and Friends:

With these unprecedented times, we hope this newsletter finds you all healthy and safe. At the lake, we are now facing increasing flooding with the highest lake levels ever recorded. We recently had an informal lake reading taken at 3.16 ft. above the Ordinary High Water Level (a formal reading cannot be taken until after the Stay-at-home order is lifted). We know that many of the properties around the lake have water in or surrounding your homes. Many properties adjacent to the lake area are also experiencing wet conditions. We have included recent photos of the lake and they are all heart breaking.

Please know that the LID Board of Directors is working as hard as we can to provide a solution. While we continue to move forward we also face challenges and issues. One of the important tasks we have is to work with affected property owners to determine required flowage easements, which may be difficult to obtain. Unfortunately, this could result in significant delays in the project timeline. See the articles below for an update on the high water project, the Environmental Assessment Worksheet (EAW) and the project timeline.
Update on High-Water
Outlet Project
We have made progress with the work to complete the design details for the infiltration area and pumping site, and the r oute from the pumping area to the infiltration site.

As we previously announced, we have Letters of Intent from all property owners along the route including the pumping site, the force main (pipe) route, and with the property owner of the infiltration site.

The following is an update on the project:
  • Borings, surveys and design work for the infiltration site and pumping areas have been completed.
  • Drafting of the documentation required for permitting has begun.
  • An initial draft of an Operations and Maintenance Plan has been completed.
  • The agreement with WSN has been amended to include Step 4 which includes tasks to complete the project design, landowner meetings, and gathering additional geologic data.
  • Per MN Rules, the LID, as the Responsible Governmental Unit, issued a discretionary Environmental Assessment Worksheet (EAW) for the High-Water project on February 18th. (see next article for details).
  • There have been meetings with the DNR to discuss potential issues for permitting.
  • There has been promising information received that additional DNR grant funds may be available for the additional design and bidding steps needed prior to the start of construction.
  • The LID and WSN have met and corresponded with neighboring property owners to the project and we continue to address questions and concerns. This has been made more difficult with increasing wet conditions on their property.
  • We will be working with affected property owners to determine required flowage easements, which may be difficult to obtain.
Environmental Assessment Worksheet ( EAW)

The EAW form provides information about a project that may have potential for significant environmental effects. The EAW allows for comments to address the material contained in the EAW, potential impacts that warrant further investigation before the project is commenced, and the need for an Environmental Impact Statement on the proposed project.

The EAW was published on February 24th with the MN Environmental Quality Board. A hard copy was available for public viewing at the Scandia Valley Town Hall, at Morrison County Land Services and at the WSN offices in Baxter, and the LID website included a link to the document.

The EAW contained hundreds of pages of detail about the high-water project, including the project location and description; geology, soils and topography; fish, wildlife, plants and sensitive ecological resources; Historic properties; visual, air, noise and transportation; other potential environmental effects; as well as seventeen appendices that include detail data regarding the project plan and an Operation and Maintenance Plan.

Thirteen comments on the EAW were received from area property owners, Morrison County Soil and Water, the Crookneck LID, the MN DNR, and the MN State Historic Preservation Office. The comments indicated that additional data may be needed regarding the project to assess the environmental impact of this project. The LSLID Board reviewed the comments and two directors met with the DNR to discuss their concerns.

In addition, the COVID-19 crisis and MN Stay-At-Home Order has made it challenging to meet with the agencies and property owners to gain the information needed.

Given the need for additional data and the challenge of the COVID-19 crisis, the Board of Directors at their most recent Board Meeting on April 10, 2020, approved a resolution to delay the decision on the need for an EIS to no later than June 30, 2020. While this decision impacts the project timeline, it is important that we have this additional data and information to determine environmental impacts and for permitting. The minutes of the April 10th meeting and the resolution can be found on the website.
Next Steps

We have worked hard since the August 2019 Annual meeting to complete the steps necessary for the infiltration project with the goal to pump water this summer or fall. There have been many issues that we have needed to work through in determining the route, costs and approvals. Issuing the EAW has made us aware of additional steps that will be needed to be completed for DNR permit approval. In addition, we will need to gain the cooperation of affected property owners for flowage easements. While we remain hopeful, we want you to know that these approvals and easements are key to the success of moving forward with infiltration. Specifically, the next steps for the infiltration project includes:
  • Aquifer testing, Geologic Characterization, Groundwater modeling and a stream analysis.
  • Additional testing will assist in determining which specific properties in the area will be affected by the additional groundwater.
  • Working with affected property owners to determine required flowage easements, which may be difficult to obtain.
  • Discussions with the DNR to determine additional requirements for permitting
  • Updating the Operations and Maintenance Plan.

The next article provides an update on the schedule assuming that we can work through the above issues.

Project Schedule and Timeline

The delays due to the decision process for the EAW and due to the COVID-19 crisis will affect the project schedule for the high-water outlet project. Following is a revised estimated timeline:
  • Additional tests, decision on the EAW, work on easements with affected property owners, and work with the DNR on permitting. Estimated Completion by June, 2020
  • Completion of final plans and specifications, final easements, final permitting, completion of bid documents and issuance of bids. Estimated Completion by August, 2020
  • Temporary Financing (if sufficient bonding funds are not yet available). Estimated Completion in August 2020 (if needed)
  • Project construction and construction engineering tasks. Estimated Completion September - December 2020. Date to begin pumping is estimated at Spring 2021.
  • Determination of final high-water outlet project assessments - November 2020.

Note - This schedule includes estimated dates based on a current determination of the work effort for completion of project tasks, and assumes that additional issues and challenges do not arise.
Lake Improvement District (LID) Schedule

LID meetings and activities coming up over the next several months:
  • On May 16th a regularly scheduled LID Board meeting will be held. The meeting will be held through our online conference tool due to the COVID-19 crisis. If you wish to join the meeting, send an email to Fred Comb to receive an email invitation to the meeting at fred@homeinspectionsofmn.com. Instructions for online meetings can be found on the LID website.
  • In June, a letter will be mailed to property owners advising them that nominations are open for 3 Director seats.
  • Nominations for the Board of Directors will be due in July.
  • At the end of July or early August, a letter will be mailed to property owners advising them of the Annual Meeting.
  • The Annual Meeting will be held on August 29th.
  • On September 19, 2020 a LID Board meeting will be held. New and continuing Directors will be introduced and welcomed onto the Board.
(Note: The Lake Association Meeting scheduled for the end of May will not be held due to COVID-19. The Lake Association will be sending out a newsletter in May).
Emergency Task Force

An Emergency Task Force has been formed to explore and work on additional steps that can be taken to mitigate inflows and improving outflows, as well as looking at the possibility of emergency pumping.

An update on recent activities of the Emergency Task Force includes:
  • The Ditch has been excavated East to 30th Ave. and the water is flowing to the West. This ditch needs to be cleaned farther to the East.
  • The Task Force has received support from Scandia Valley Township for the continued ditch work and the Township has committed funding to assist with additional costs.
  • The Task Force is also working on an emergency pumping project this Spring. The Township has stated that they are supportive of emergency pumping and the task force is working on equipment and permit details.
Thanks to the Lake Association, LID Board members, and property owners for their participation and hard work with the Task Force. Thanks also to Scandia Valley Township for their help and funding, to Morrison County and to Soil and Water for their support and assistance.

The Task Force has also toured the lake with Commissioner LeMeiur and Soil and Water to show the damage that we are experiencing.

We want you to know that while LID Board members are participating on the Emergency Task Force, the LID Board's focus continues to be our long-term plan.
Legislative Update

Bills have been introduced in both the MN House and the MN Senate in support of funding for the Lake Shamineau LID High Water Outlet Project. HF 2942 has been introduced by Rep. Ron Kresha and SF 3285 has been introduced by Sen. Paul Gazelka.
A hearing was held on March 4th for the House bill which earmarks $2.275 million dollars for the Lake Shamineau High Water Project. Thanks to all that attended! The wave of light blue shirts helped to show solidarity for the lake.

We continue to receive words of support from legislators. The legislature is taking a pause due to the COVID-19 emergency and will only be considering a very streamlined agenda for legislation. However, we remain hopeful that that our bonding request will be approved.

We need to continue to press for our funding. We need your help in sending letters of support to Governor Walz at 130 State Capitol, 75 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd; St Paul MN 55155. Let the Governor know that we need his help to fund our project. Use your own words and you may want to include pictures.
News Story's

On April 8th, WCCO News visited the lake to view the flooding devastation. Bill Hudson reported on the story which was aired on the evening news. On April 16th KSTP also did a story on the lake with a helicopter view of the lake.

The Morrison County Record is also interested in the problems at the lake and will be filing a story soon. In addition, Morrison County Commissioner LeMieur recently visited the lake and viewed the flooding issues.

These visits and publicity will assist us in seeking funding and approvals for our project.

Thanks to our LID Legislative Coordinators - Ardis Sandstrom, Nancy Hanson and Cheryl Koll for their help and assistance in getting the word to St Paul and to the media.
Updates from the Board of Directors

County Shoreline Ordinance

Morrison County recently adopted a new county-wide shoreland ordinance section which paired with the 2019 temporary ordinance, gives the Land Services Department flexibility to permit vegetative and topographic alternations and deal with damaged principle structures that do not meet setback from the lake.

These provisions allow for temporary emergency work to control shoreline erosion and damage. While permits are required for all grade/fill rip rap and alteration activities, in most cases variances are not needed. Land Services is available (through phone at this time) at 320-632-0170 and email to assist.

There is also a fact sheet available on how to handle septic systems during flooding. Click here for the fact sheet.
Website as Official Site

The LSLID Board recently approved the LID website as the official location for LID documentation and information. Be sure to visit the LID website for such information as:
  • Treasurer's Reports
  • Project status reports
  • LID Board Meeting schedule and agendas
  • High-Water Project Information
  • Environmental Assessment Worksheet (EAW) Information
  • Announcements and notes for meetings
No Wake Sign
Aquatic Invasive Species
Partnership Grant

Each year, the LSLID submits a grant application to Morrison County for funding to support the Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) Prevention Plan. For 2020, the LID has been informed they have been approved for the following:
  • AIS vegetation surveys which are used to guide our treatment planning and improve accuracy in our brochures - $3,500
  • Updating and maintaining the AIS Educational signs for the lake landings - $200
  • AIS Management project which includes chemical use and scuba diver hand pulling - $5,000
  • The Ambassador program to monitor the lake access landings - No funding received from the County. The LSLID will fund this program through the 2020 budget.
Respect Flooding Properties

The Morrison County Sheriff's office will soon be making a decision on the NO WAKE ZONE guidelines for this summer. However, all boaters need to be considerate of flooding properties. Don't boat too close nor too fast.

In addition, be cautious when driving near properties to view the flooding. Many around the lake are dealing with unfortunate circumstances so be respectful of private driveways and private property.
A Message from the LID Board
The LID Board of Directors are continuing to work hard on the High-Water Outlet tasks. We remain hopeful that we will be able to complete the needed tasks for permitting, and that we will receive bonding funds from the legislature that will be used to offset the cost to property owners.

We will also be soon sending a letter to all property owners to provide an update on the high-water project and other LID activities. Continue to let us know your comments and questions. We welcome your input.

If you know of someone that would like to be added to our newsletter subscriber list, have them send a text to 22828 with the message LAKESHAMINEAU or send an email to LSLIDBD@gmail.com . You may want t o add this email address to your white list to ensure that you will receive future newsletters.

Thank you for your support,

Cindy Kevern, Bob Koll, Rick Rosar, Fred Comb and Ardis Sandstrom
Lake Shamineau Improvement District Board of Directors