County, DNR to cooperate on 2 projects

WashCo_logo             Washington County and the state Department of Natural Resources will cooperate on two separate projects involving fish and groundwater wells after the Board of Commissioners agreed to agreements with the agency Tuesday.

One project lets the DNR use ponds in two county parks to raise walleye fingerlings for stocking in area lakes. The other allows the DNR to install two groundwater observation wells in the Lake Elmo Park Reserve.

The two DNR observation wells in Lake Elmo Park Reserve are part of a well network that monitors groundwater levels in aquifers under the 11-county metropolitan area. The DNR collects groundwater availability, pumping impacts and groundwater and surface interaction data from the wells and is expanding its well network to improve data quality.

The agency identified a data gap in the central part of the county and asked to install two wells in the same location the University of Minnesota Geological Survey (MGS) is drilling wells to collect rock and sediment core samples for produce a new geological atlas of the county.

The DNR proposes constructing one well in the MGS bore hole. The second well would be drilled by a DNR contractor adjacent to the first well.

Data loggers that record water levels hourly will be installed in the locked well. DNR staff will visit the wells quarterly to download data and maintain wells. The DNR will also pay any costs to restore the site to its original condition.

The DNR will use Warikois pond in Big Marine Park Reserve and Louise Lake in Pine Point Park to raise walleyes.

No walleyes were harvested from Louise Lake last year due to low water levels.