Thursday, December 6, 2012

Snow job?

photo of snow covered oak branches
© harrington
Snow in the forecast for tomorrow and Saturday, maybe an inch or two all told. My daughter is all happy and excited about the prospects for a white Christmas. As we all know, snow eventually becomes snow melt, which, because the ground is usually still frozen at snow melt time in My Minnesota, becomes runoff rather than groundwater recharge. Winter snow fall may be good for school closings, snowmen, snow ball fights and the general appreciation of winter-loving snow flakes. It probably won't do much to help White Bear Lake. After noting the story in MinnPost (and elsewhere) about WBL's imitation of the disappearing man, I checked the DNR web site to see what a groundwater appropriation permit requires. Among other things, a permit application for a non-irrigation appropriation is supposed to include a rationale or justification of why conservation won't meet the need and what alternative water sources were considered. I haven't checked (yet), but I think it could be really interesting to see what's on file in the appropriation permits that supposedly result in the indirect draw down of WBL. Were there thorough discussions of alternate sources and conservation, or was that element provided little more than a pro forma response? The Minnesota Water Sustainability Framework, done in 2010, calls for a holistic approach to land and water management. I suppose that plan, along with lots of other good work, would be collecting dust on the shelves of public buildings except it's published in digital form which hopefully doesn't collect dust.