DNR releases draft Little Rock Creek Area plan for public review

Comments accepted through Dec. 22

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has released a public review draft of a five-year action plan for the sustainable use of groundwater in the Little Rock Creek Area, in central Minnesota, south of Little Falls. 

The plan and a feedback survey are available on the DNR Little Rock Creek Area webpage at www.mndnr.gov/littlerock. Comments will be accepted through Dec. 22.

The DNR launched the planning process in response to evidence that groundwater use was affecting the quality of Little Rock Creek, a designated trout stream. Well pumping tests in the area indicated that groundwater use was depleting the stream.

A statewide watershed health assessment indicated that water appropriation in the Little Rock Creek Area was high. Additionally, a Minnesota Pollution Control analysis found that cumulative groundwater use across the area was reducing stream flow.

The DNR’s draft plan is designed to ensure that groundwater use in the Little Rock Creek Area will continue to support local economies, be protective of the environment and provide for continued outdoor recreation. The DNR created an advisory team that included local irrigators, residents and government officials so the agency could hear and consider different perspectives as the plan was developed.

The DNR will host a public meeting Saturday, Dec. 9, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Little Falls Community Middle School Commons, 1000 1st Ave. NE, Little Falls. DNR staff will answer questions and provide opportunities for comment on the draft plan. More details will be available closer to the event.

“The DNR recognizes the importance of groundwater to agricultural irrigators, livestock operators, small businesses, municipalities and individual families in the Little Rock Creek Area,” DNR project manager Mark Hauck said. “Groundwater is the source of domestic water for nearly 6,000 local residents. As the area’s economy and population continue to develop and grow, groundwater will become even more important.”

The draft action plan lays out the steps that the DNR will be taking over the next five years to better understand the relationship between groundwater use and the ecosystems of Little Rock Creek and work with people from the area on ways to manage water use in the future. No permit modifications will be made during this period.

In addition to the public meeting, questions may be addressed to Mark Hauck at mark.hauck@state.mn.us or 320-223-7846.