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Prairie protection to be part of Renville County park study

Renville County

OLIVIA — Renville County is adding a statement that it intends to improve and protect prairie on the site proposed for the Minnesota Valley Off-Highway Vehicle Recreation Area as part of the environmental assessment worksheet now being undertaken for it.

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is requesting that the statement be included in the worksheet, Scott Refsland, acting director of the county's environmental and community development office, told the Renville County Board of Commissioners on Tuesday.

Refsland said the county is not committing to anything at this point by including the statement. If the county goes forward with the park, it would then need to commit to protecting and restoring native prairie that could be impacted by its development and operation, he explained.

Refsland said he was told the environmental assessment worksheet on the proposed project could be completed in April.

The county is considering an approximate, 272-acre site along the Minnesota River in Sacred Heart Township for the park. It would be bisected by County Road 15 and 200th Street.

The environmental assessment worksheet now underway is phase two of an overall, $129,929 study looking at the feasibility of the project.

Tom Cherveny

Tom Cherveny is a regional and outdoor reporter with the West Central Tribune in Willmar, MN.

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