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Letter: Dredging Lake Zumbro is a good investment

October 12, 2018

The Chester Woods Lake is a great resource for Rochester residents for fishing and recreation. A park and 118-acre lake worth all of the $5 million spent!

It bothers me that Rochester takes for granted what a great resource Lake Zumbro was before two sources helped to quickly speed up filling the lake with silt. They were the 2010 flood that took out the dam on Lake Shady, but also a big city flood control project that saved residents millions in losses in years of heavy rains. After the Rochester flood control project was in, heavy rains raised water over boat docks in half a day, instead of over several days. My folks had a place on the lake and the increased speed and flow was dramatic afterwards.

I think it is a huge mistake not to fund a proper dredging of Lake Zumbro to restore this great resource for the Rochester area. A DNR fishing survey of people fishing on the lake found that 50 of all the anglers lived in Rochester. The survey was for the 2007 summer and this doesn’t include boaters and skiers. RPU had an Electric Utility Baseline Strategy for 2005-2030 Electric Infrastructure prepared by Burns & McDonnell. This was before the lake was so badly filled in, but surprisingly recommended increasing the yearly electrical output from 9GWH/2016 to 21GWH/2030. This could more than double the income from hydropower created. I don’t see a funding problem for this dredging and future where half the users come from Rochester once the lake is renewed.

Stephen H. Walters, Oronoco

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