Lake Zumbro Dredging and Public Hearing

Lake Zumbro was first created in 1918-19.  For the last 100 years, silt has slowly been carried into the lake.  The silt has reduced the depth of lake and made parts of it unusable for recreation.  Dredging the lake will increase the depth to at least 6 feet to restore the use of the lake.

Where does the money come from for the Dredging? The money comes from several sources:

  • $3,500,00 from the State of Minnesota
  • $1,167,000 from Rochester Public Utilities
  • $216,000 from the non-profit Lake Zumbro Forever organization.
  • $400,000 from Olmsted County
  • $100,000 from Wabasha County
  • $1,617,000 from assessments of parcels of land in the Lake Zumbro Improvement District which benefit from the dredging.

Where will the dredged silt go?

On March 30, Olmsted County purchased an 80 acre parcel of farmland in Farmington Township, east of Lake Zumbro, to deposit and de-water the dredged spoils.  The cost of the purchase was $640,000; it was made on behalf of the Olmsted-Wabasha Lake Zumbro Joint Powers Board.  This arrangement benefits both the joint powers board by allowing more dredging and Olmsted County.  The land will be leased to the joint powers board for 5 years (renewable). Additionally, the joint powers board can rent out the tillable acreage to an area farmer to bring in additional income and control weeds and erosion when the land is not needed for the dredging spoils.  When the project is completed Olmsted County will have possession of the land and can sell, lease or use the land.

Public Hearing on Service Charges Ordinance on Newly Developed Benefited Lake Zumbro Properties.  9:15 AM, at the County Board meeting room on Tuesday May 1.

The current owners of properties around Lake Zumbro have agreed to assess themselves to pay for the lake improvements.  It is expected that once the lake has been dredged that undeveloped land next to improved lake will attract new residential and possibly commercial interest.  There will also be a need to create a maintenance fund so that the lake can maintain a usable depth in the future.  It would seem fair that owners of the undeveloped lake properties who develop them after the assessments for the dredging project, should pay a sum proportional to the amount being paid by the existing lake property owners.  Imposing a service charge on these newly developed properties will provide a source of income for future maintenance of the lake.  (Wabasha County will also be imposing an assessment for similar parcels located in Wabasha County.)  A public hearing has been set for this proposed ordinance.