On Tuesday, May 4th, I watched the latter half of the Eden Prairie City Council meeting covering the potential impact of the proposed Pulte residential housing development to the Frederick-Miller spring. While I appreciated the divergent points of view, I realized that I needed to study the facts myself as well as revisit the spring and surrounding watershed to fully appreciate the discussion. I reached out to the city and obtained a copy of the council meeting presentation materials reflecting the hydrology survey and also visited the spring and surrounding watershed to develop my own conclusions regarding this matter.
Although I am not formally trained in geology, the information in the hydrology survey was presented fairly with a level of detail and explanation designed to inform a broad audience. The hydrology survey/data clearly reflects that the watershed (or recharge area) that feeds the spring does not include the land in the proposed development. While the water spigot for the spring is on the east side of Spring road, the water is actually piped from the west side of the road away from the proposed development. More importantly, the elevation changes of the surrounding land physically preclude the proposed development from directly impacting the spring. However, I was alarmed to see that much of the recharge area for the spring has been recently developed with houses. I believe that the existing home development does pose a viable threat to the water quality of the spring and this should be the focus of the discussion. Lawn fertilizer, pesticides, pet waste and other pollutants from homeowners’ yards could infiltrate the recharge area and impact water quality at the spring.
Yesterday, I called Eden Prairie’s Mayor, Ron Case, to discuss this matter with him. He shared with me that the city continues to focus on this issue and has been working on plans to improve access and monitor/maintain water quality. Mayor Case shared with me that new quality and access recommendations will be shared at the next City Council meeting on May 18th. Plans include improved access (i.e. adding multiple water spigots), educating the homeowners in the recharge area regarding the impact of their actions on water quality, and enhanced water testing to ensure safety.
I look forward to the May 18th City Council meeting and learning more about the specific recommendations to address the existing risks to the spring. Also, I am encouraging all sides to work together to continue to support water quality and access to the spring for all Minnesotans.
Eden Prairie, MN