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Comments being accepted for Eau Galle Recreation Area master plan

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers created this impoundment, known as Lake George, when it dammed the Eau Galle in the 1960s. Eau Galle's Master Plan states that Lake George has high phosphorus levels and the DNR has given it an "impaired water" status and algal blooms are common in the summer. Sally Shepherd / RiverTown Multimedia1 / 2
Natural Resources Specialist Brad LaBadie spoke with the public at 6 p.m. April 26, 2018 at the Spring Valley Emergency Services Building. LaBodie said they were looking for the public's opinion on what they would like to see done with the Eau Galle Recreation Area in its early stages of planning. Sara Tischauser / RiverTown Multimedia2 / 2

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in the St. Paul District will be accepting public comment on the new draft of the Eau Galle Recreation Area master plan Environmental Assessment until May 17.

The draft, which is a strategic land use document serving to outline responsible stewardship of resources, was released on April 17 and comments were open for submission beginning the same day.

An initial draft outlining potential changes and improvements to the Eau Galle Recreation Area was open for public comment in April 2018.

Eau Galle park rangers, support offices and environmental staff have been working together on the project draft.

This newest draft includes the following proposed items, according to a news release from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers:

• Prescribe an overall land use management plan for all land (fee, easements or other interests) acquired for the park.

• Identify resource objectives and associated design and management concepts.

• Provide broad concepts rather than details of design or administration.

• Facilitate appropriate management, use, development, enhancement, protection and conservation of the natural, cultural and man-made resources.

• Ensure responsible stewardship of these resources to benefit present and future generations.

• Guide the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers pursuant to applicable federal laws, policies and regulations.

A full PDF version of the draft and full details are available at the St. Paul District website (www.mvp.usace.army.mil/Home/PublicNotices/aspx)

The news release directs readers to forward questions or comments to Jon Sobiech, project biologist, at 651-290-5428 or jonathan.i.sobiech@usace.army.mil

Formal written correspondence on the project draft may be sent to the St. Paul District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, ATTN: Regional Planning and Environment Division North, 180 Fifth St. E., Suite 700, St. Paul, MN 55101.

Eau Galle Recreation Area Park Ranger Brad LaBadie said in addition to the comments being sent to Sobiech, LaBadie has also submitted a draft to be on display at the Spring Valley Library. He left comment cards to be filled out by the public which may be submitted to the Eau Galle office or forward the comments to him via email. As of April 25, he had not received any comments and said he was unsure if Sobiech had received any either. A phone call to Sobiech has not been returned by press time.

Next steps toward implementing improvements to the area after the comment period is closed will depend largely on funding and what type of changes are set in plans.

"Some of those changes that were commented on last year, we're already actually in the process of doing those changes. Like the equestrian campground, we had horrible toilets up there and people have been wanting a nicer facility and we got funding for that last fiscal year so that will be installed this year," LaBadie added.

Rachel Helgeson

Rachel Helgeson

(651) 301-7864
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