The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources says a planned water system to deliver water from Lake Superior to the Lutsen Mountains ski area and nearby businesses will not have significant environmental effects.
The decision allows the nearly $5 million project to apply for permits and begin construction in the spring. The project still needs state and county permits.
The ski resort was using water from the Poplar River to make snow, but low water levels and heavy sedimentation were a concern for the designated trout stream. The Legislature authorized locals to set up a water district and offered money to build a pipe to collect water from Lake Superior.
Lutsen Mountain spokeswoman Judy Erickson said the system should not cause any additional sedimentation.
"We're simply changing the source of water for snowmaking, we're not increasing the amount of water for snowmaking over existing permits," Erickson said.
Erickson said the water supply will benefit the entire community.
"The public golf course is undergoing a major expansion, and this will add to their irrigation capabilities there," Erickson said. "It will add a secure drinking water supply for the community that they currently don't have. In addition, it will be great source of water for firefighting in the area."
Critics worry the project will lead to further development along the North Shore, but the DNR said the area is subject to a land use plan administered by Cook County.
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