NEW MINNEHAHA CREEK WATERSHED DISTRICT SCIENTIFIC DATA REPORT FINDS DIRECT LINK OF 30% DECREASE IN FLOW RATE TO CAMP COLDWATER SPRINGS FROM HIGHWAY 55/62 INTERCHANGE SITE; NEWS CONFERENCE AT SPRINGS SLATED FOR TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 5 AT 1:30 P.M.

MINNEAPOLIS, MN., FEBRUARY 5, 2002 -- A new scientific data report from the MinnehahaCreek Watershed District (MCWD) finds a direct 30-percent reduction in flow rate to Camp Coldwater Springs from MnDOTs construction of the Highway 55/62 Interchange.

A news conference at the springs is scheduled today at 1:30 p.m., featuring Senator Julie Sabo (DFL, District 62) , the sponsor of the 2001 Camp Coldwater Springs billprotecting the springs history and flow, MCWD spokespersons and others. Sabo andcompany will release the new report and question whether MnDOTs attempt to seekrelief at the legislature this year for the unanimously passed law last session and signed by Governor Ventura would be prudent in light of the reports new findings.

Today, with new data over a two-year period of weekly monitoring from both the highway department and the watershed district, the rate of groundwater flow at CCSduring December 2000-December 2001 has shown trends of decrease that correspond directly to MnDOT groundwater pumping, says Pam Blixt, President, MCWD Board of Managers. Between July and November 2001 -- during continuous pumping -- CCS
flow diminished by more than 30 percent, regardless of whether the MCWD's or MnDOT's own flow data are used -- and regardless of changes in rainfall patterns. These are real numbers that underscore the importance of the law passed last year and an indication that MnDOT can no longer play loose with data interpretation or potential impacts to the spring.

The new report reaffirms that without a suitable drainage design for groundwater flow from the Interchange site to CCS a solution upheld in Minnesota District Court last fall before MnDOT said it was terminating its project MnDOT is forcing legislators to choose between completing a highway project or protecting the springs, says Senator Sabo. The truth is, in fact, that both can be done without further waste of taxpayer dollars, impaired safety to motorists at the interchange, or environmental degradation of what many consider to be the birthplace of Minnesota.

Many Native American groups also consider the site to be sacred, a belief reported by Federal Highway Administration officials, Dan Ghere and Joe Krolak from Chicago and Baltimore respectively, along with Stanley Graczyk of St. Paul, in a November 16 summary letter to MnDOT Commissioner Tinklenberg about the springs and the controversy: The [FHWA -- Federal Highway Administration of Minnesota] Division has made commitments to the Tribal Governments that the FHWA would review the project to ensure no adverse effect to Camp Coldwater Springs. The Division wishes to honor this commitment irregardless (sic) of any engineering remedy accepted by other parties.

ADDITIONAL BACKGROUND: 2001
· An original settlement agreement last summer established that MNDOT and MCWD would work together to find a revised design for the highway 55/62 interchange that would not impede flow to Camp Coldwater Springs. This agreement was created under
the guidance of Hennepin County District Judge Knoll last fall after MCWD litigated against MnDOT over its design of the groundwater drainage system.

Later, a jointly selected court-ordered -- independent engineering firm, Shannon & Wilson, found that MNDOT's current interchange design was indeed flawed. MnDOT estimated that the design recommended by the independent engineering firm could cost between $4 to $8 million. On August 27, MnDOT filed a legal request asking that it be released from fulfilling an out-of-court settlement agreement negotiated earlier this summer with the district.

· On September 18, MnDOT said it was terminating the project because the current law presented an unobtainable standard and that it feared citizens lawsuits. Yet such a suit brought last fall by the nonprofit advocacy group, Friends of Coldwater, was dismissed by Judge Knoll in December as untimely and redundant, thereby mooting MnDOTs fears of citizen litigation.

· Concerns that the original Highway 55/62 design initially proposed by MnDOT would harm the flow of the historic Camp Coldwater Springs were additionally confirmed by a series of dye tests conducted last June and during recent tests at the site during dewatering. The tests showed a connection between the flow of the springs and part of the spring's recharge area to the southwest, which included the interchange area, only a quarter mile away from the springs.

FOR A COMPLETE TIMELINE OF THE CONTROVERSY, SEE:
http://www.minnehahacreek.org/f-temp_coldwatertimeline.htm

The MCWD designs and builds projects to protect water resources including lake restoration, wetland enhancement, erosion repair and flood control. The District also coordinates cities, counties, park districts developers, and others within watershed boundaries for compatible and efficient water resource management.

For more information, or to interview key sources, please contact Martin Keller at612-220-6515 (cell), or 612-729-8585 (office), or online at kelmart@aol.com

Bob Winter, MnDOT's metro division engineer, said the department rejects the [watershed]district's calculations of pumping impacts.

However Never since recording began in July 1998 has the Spring EVER dropped to such low levels. Only with MnDOT pumping has the Spring run so low as 50 to 60 Gallons per Minute. Even in drought the Spring stays above 80 Gallons a Minute, by MnDOT's Own Numbers.

How can they say this is weather related, when there was more precipitation when the pumping was happening and the Spring was still lowered to 65GPM, and when there is a drought, the Spring stays at over 80GPM?Further, if this is weather related, why does the Spring Flow rate return when MnDOT pumping stops? Why does MnDOT refuse to release current flowrates now that it looks like it proves the correlation?