DNR seeks comments on environmental assessment for Nolte Family Irrigation Project in Wadena County

April 6, 2020


The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is accepting public comments through May 6 on an environmental assessment worksheet for the Nolte Family Irrigation Project in Wadena County. The project is located within the Pineland Sands Area of central Minnesota.

Timothy Nolte proposes to begin irrigation of 303 acres of land, previously managed as private timberland, for livestock grazing and commodity and staple crop production. The land is currently used for non-irrigated crops and livestock grazing. The project would also complete the conversion of the remaining standing timber and stumps on the land to irrigated agricultural land. The land would be cultivated and three groundwater-supplied center pivot irrigation systems would be installed.

On August 29, 2019, the DNR determined that this project may have the potential for significant cumulative environmental effects associated with nitrate contamination of groundwater. As a result, the DNR ordered preparation of an environmental assessment worksheet.

This decision was made after considering a citizen’s petition requesting an EAW for continued potato field expansion that includes forest-to-field conversions, chemical applications and water appropriations in and around the Pinelands Sands Area.

A copy of the EAW is available on the project page.

Additional copies may be requested by calling 651-259-5168.

The EAW notice was published in the April 6 EQB Monitor. Written comments on the EAW must be submitted no later than 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, May 6, to the attention of Jill Townley, supervisor, Environmental Policy and Review Unit, DNR Ecological and Water Resources Division, 500 Lafayette Road, St. Paul, MN 55155-4025. 

Electronic or email comments may be sent to [email protected] with “Nolte EAW” in the subject line. Written comments may also be sent by fax to 651-296-1811. People who submit comments will receive a copy of the decision document, which includes responses to comments. Because all comments and related information are part of the public record for this environmental review, commenters' names and email or postal addresses will also be published and publicly available as they appear in the materials they submit.