It’s time to celebrate. The water level on North Long Lake reached “ordinary.” The other time the water reached “ordinary” was in 1940.
According to DNR, water is normally present at the Ordinary High Water Level (OHWL) every three or four years. A memo from Mr. Ken Reed, St. Paul DNR hydrologist, concluded the OHWL was 1198.6. Reed’s supervisor told me 1198.6 was too high. 1198.6 is 30 feet landward of my tree-line. At 1198.6 there is no change in vegetation. At 1198.6 there no evidence left by the presence of water. At 1198.6 there is no water mark. Trees validate 1198.6 is too high. 1198.6 fails all criteria for an OHWL.
Inspecting my site without elevation equipment, Mr. Reed and the Court placed the OHWL at my tree line. The change in vegetation from aquatic to terrestrial exists at the tree-line. There is evidence left by the presence of water at the tree-line. The water mark exists at the tree-line.
A neighbor 100 feet west clear-cut his 200 foot wide lot and bulldozed a 16-foot bluff covering 100 feet of wetland and 250 feet of low land. Mowed lawn has replaced the cattails. The county zoning officer refused to process his 4,000 yard after-the-fact fill permit request. Never approved, all of his fill remains. I complained. My request for 133 and 150 yards were denied.
My building site (75 feet from the tree line) was selected during a joint site visit by DNR, 30 Lakes Watershed and Crow Wing County Zoning. That location with footings was approved by the Board of Adjustments. The zoning officer conceded to a 14-day limit to cite the location of the footings.
Months later the zoning officer sued. The District Court found it was in compliance. Rehearing, the Court of Appeals created a retroactive water elevation requirement. DNR projected its newly modified elevation some 30 feet into my trees. The District Court ordered me to move my home.
Rational shoreline zoning regulations require an accurate OHWL. A resort owner recently built a huge home on a lot that was entirely below 1198.6. It’s time to conduct another survey and find the true OHWL elevation.