DNR To Appeal White Bear Lake Water Level Ruling

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources says it will appeal a court ruling dealing with water levels on White Bear Lake.

The lawsuit that sparked all of this was brought on by the lake’s restoration association and area homeowners.

Last month, a Ramsey County Judge ruled the DNR mismanaged groundwater resources by issuing too many municipal well permits. The court order limits well drilling and lawn watering in order to maintain the lake’s water levels.

The DNR claims this court ruling isn’t the best way to get the lake’s water levels back to where they need to be, but those behind that initial lawsuit say the ruling was based in science.

The DNR had until the end of next month to appeal the ruling, but decided to make the announcement now because they say many area communities are concerned about the future and what impact the regulations will have.

They allege the court ruling puts an unnecessary burden on more than half a million people who live in the area of White Bear Lake and could set a precedent for residents across the entire state of Minnesota.

Greg McNeely, chair of the White Bear Lake Restoration Association, still insists the lake is on its way down and that this appeal won’t overturn the original ruling.

“We hope the DNR steps up to the plate. So far they have really skirted the issues. The appeal is based on a lot of scare tactics,” he said. “They’re saying it’s going to stop and halt all this development. Nothing in the order says it’s going to affect any of the development. We’re talking about the high-volume wells. And we’re also asking them to set some kind of a plan up that would help save the lake.”

During the appeal process, the DNR will work with permit holders in the White Bear Lake area to implement some elements of the ruling as some changes to water use may be needed.

Some progress has been made in terms of the lake levels in recent months. In June, White Bear Lake’s county-run beach opened for the first time in nearly a decade after being closed due to low water levels.

More from Mary McGuire
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