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Editorial: Work on vital Grass Lake site continues

It is good to see the Grass Lake restoration project near Willmar has finally gotten on the political radar this week.

Elected officials, state natural resource officials and property owners met Tuesday to discuss Grass Lake developments and building consensus on phase two options.

The Grass Lake project is a unique watershed located southeast of Willmar in the original Grass Lake basin, which was drained more than a century ago for agricultural purposes, according to a West Central Tribune report Wednesday.

The watershed restoration of Grass Lake has been under consideration for the past 20 years. Thank you to all the landowners and local and state officials who have supported and worked on this project during the past two decades.

This project has hit a bump or two along the way. Recently the city of Willmar lost interest in the project as the city found out it could not get storm water storage credits from the state Pollution Control Agency for storm water routed through the new Grass Lake. With no such credit, the city must now pursue other storm water options for its investment.

Kandiyohi County will now likely take the lead on the Grass Lake project.

There has been $1.7 million spent to this point on wetland development and securing permanent easements. There is about $3 million currently available for further phase one development.

The Grass Lake project is important to the quantity and quality of water flowing in and out of the watershed, as well as downstream.

It is important that property owners, local, county and state leaders and officials from Kandiyohi County work together and build a consensus on the next phase of Grass Lake.