The Roseau "Lake Rehabilitation" Project threatens up to thousands of acres of our productive, family-owned, tax-generating farmland...to build a permanent marsh. This will not turn the basin into a lake that can be used in any meaningful way, nor will it significantly reduce flooding or foster a wildlife habitat. There is no real public benefit to justify the devastating cost to local farmers and taxpayers. We have been here for generations. Please help us protect our farms from this land grab!
The stated purpose of the Roseau Lake Rehabilitation Project is “flood damage reduction and improved habitat for…wildlife.” The Roseau River Watershed District Board (RRWD) wants to build a lake on the existing basin, that will supposedly minimize flooding. While eminent domain has never been disavowed by the Board, the current project stands to destroy our farmland by disrupting seasonal flooding patterns.
Not a recreational lake, but a stagnant pond that will average six to twelve inches of water, which is no home for wildlife. A licensed hydrologist projected that the project will marginally reduce flooding and destroy valuable wetlands—at a cost exceeding the watershed district's original $15 million budget. The larger downstream floods, such as 10-year floods, will not be prevented.
The Roseau River Watershed District Board (RRWD), whose members are not hydrologists, are funding this project in conjunction with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. Lessard-Sams Outdoor Heritage Council has committed $2.67 million towards this project, despite being charged with restoring, protecting, and enhancing Minnesota’s wetlands and wildlife, goals that will not be achieved by this project.
As landowners and taxpayers, we've been fighting this project for years. Despite our willingness to work with the RRWD to come to an alternative, and our decades of experience farming our land, the Board has failed to address our concerns or provide sufficient information to us. In fact, the Board radically altered and approved a new operating plan the same day it was presented, a plan developed without consultation of landowners. The Board also continues to apply for permits, when affected property owners in the project footprint do not support it.
This project would effectively render our land unfarmable and destroy our livelihoods. With huge costs and no clear public benefit, this project amounts to nothing more than a land grab.
The Roseau County Landowners Coalition includes over 50 local farmers and landowners who oppose this effort.
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