Nolte Family Irrigation Project

Project proposal

The proposed project is located within North Germany Township in Wadena County. The project area is included within the Pineland Sands Area of Central Minnesota. The project proposes to convert 303 acres of formerly Potlatch Corporation owned and managed timberland and current non-irrigated crop and livestock grazing land to 303 acres of irrigated agriculture for livestock grazing and commodity/staple crop production. Conversion will consist of removal of remaining standing timber and associated stumps, land cultivation and the installation of three groundwater supplied irrigation pivot systems.

EAW preparation and interagency review

The DNR has determined that this project may have the potential for significant cumulative environmental effects associated with nitrate contamination of groundwater. As a result, the DNR has ordered preparation of an EAW. This decision was made after considering a citizen’s petition requesting an EAW for continued potato field expansion that include forest-to-field conversions, chemical applications and water appropriations in and around the Pinelands Sands Area.

Cumulative potential effects

A Cumulative Potential Effects analysis is required as part of every environmental review (EAW and EIS).  The analysis is defined by Minnesota Rules and involves a listing of the proposed project’s environmental effects, and its contribution to the environmental effects that are current present right around the project. Future projects can also be considered in this analysis if those future projects are in the process of being permitted or built. The Environmental Quality Board has additional information on conducting this analysis in their 2013 EAW Guidelines Document.

Interagency review team agendas

Preparation of the EAW will utilize internal expertise, as well as coordinate with the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA), Department of Agriculture (MDA) and Department of Health (MDH). This Interagency Review Team will focus on the potential cumulative effects portion of the EAW and will meet periodically during EAW preparation.



The EAW timeline for the Nolte Family Irrigation Project is dependent on information submitted. DNR is currently working to determine the appropriate level of project information needed from the project proposer. Once DNR receives complete information from the project proposer, the EAW writing would begin.


Below are documents prepared by the project proposer to provide supporting data for the EAW. Also below are DNR responses to the data.

IMPORTANT: Many of these documents were not produced by the DNR or any other state agency. They are provided to inform interested parties of the data being provided by the project proposer for the EAW. These documents are posted as provided by the project proposer, and the DNR makes no claim on the accuracy of the content provided below. However, as RGU, the DNR will assess the accuracy and completeness of all information used in the EAW, including proposer-provided information. This is an ongoing activity. These documents are available in alternative formats to individuals with disabilities by contacting Jill Townley at [email protected]. This page will be updated with accessible versions of the documents by February 10.

Proposer first data submittal – October 31, 2019 

DNR response to first data submittal – December 2, 2019

Proposer second data submittal – December 21, 2019

DNR response to second data submittal – January 21, 2020

Proposer third data submittal—January 31, 2020

DNR Response to third data submittal – February 25, 2020

Next steps

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