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 privately owned and managed timberland to irrigated agriculture for livestock grazing and commodity/staple crop production. The land is currently used as non-irrigated crop and livestock grazing land. The conversion would consist of the removal of remaining standing timber and associated stumps, land cultivation and the operation of three groundwater-supplied center pivot irrigation systems.
Record of Decision on Environmental Assessment Worksheet (EAW)
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR), as the Responsible Governmental Unit for environmental review of the Nolte Family Irrigation Project in Wadena County, Minnesota, has issued a Record of Decision (ROD) regarding the Need for an Environmental Impact Statement for the project.
The DNR has concluded that an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) is not required because the project does not have the potential for significant environmental effects. The justification for this determination is contained in the ROD. The Record of Decision, Attachment A contains a summary of all comments received on the Environmental Assessment Worksheet during the 30-day public review and comment period.
Issuing this Record of Decision concludes the state environmental review process for this project according to the Minnesota Environmental Quality Board rules, Minnesota Rules, part 4410.1000 to 4410.1700. This project can proceed to permitting and approvals.
- Cover Letter for Record of Decision
- Record of Decision (June 18, 2020)
- Record of Decision, Attachment A- Public Comment Summary
EAW preparation and interagency review
The EAW was conducted in response to a Citizen's Petition to perform environmental review on potential cumulative effects of the Nolte Family Irrigation Project, on the Pineland Sands area.
- Citizen Petition for Land Conversion and Water Appropriation in Pineland Sands Area
- Map of Pineland Sands Area and Water Appropriation Applications
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 (review EAW process on the EQB website).
Interagency review team agendas
Preparation of the EAW utilized internal expertise, as well as coordinated with the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA), Department of Agriculture (MDA) and Department of Health (MDH). This Interagency Review Team focused on the potential cumulative effects portion of the EAW and met periodically during EAW preparation.