For the last 40 years there has been an ongoing dispute between West McDonald and Hoffman Lakes. There is a small strip of land that has separated the Lakes and has continued to get more narrow every year. Hoffman is a landlocked Lake that when it reaches a certain elevation it flows over into West Mac. On at least three separate occasions, channels have been dug, dredged or dynamited through the bar to drastically allow much lower Quality Water from Hoffman Lake into West McDonald Lake. It has been an endless battle that reached its peak when the Hoffman Lake Association submitted a petition requesting that the current split be lowered to 2 ft deep by 4 ft wide At this level both Lakes would flow together and become one. DNR made the decision to change the requested outlet for Hoffman Lake to 1 foot deep by 4 ft wide. This too would allow Lakes to flow into one if West McDonald Lake we’re to rise to it’s Ordinary High Water Level. West McDonald Lake Association did not want to sit by idly as their crystal clear waters were tainted. Their Association President on behalf of the Association found a law firm in Minneapolis that would take the case. On three separate occasions WMLA tried to settle with the DNR that would satisfy all parties involved with no success Bottom line, WMLA wants a more permanent a structure that people on both sides of the issue would not be able to easily change. Something needed to be done, the decision was made to hire the law firm. WMLA filed a lawsuit against DNR for improper water transfer between Lakes in compliance with Minnesota Statutes. After several months the MN Court of Appeals came back and with a decision that "the record in this matter lacks substantial evidence to support the DNR’s determination that it satisfied all criteria for approving a public-waters work permit, pursuant to Minn. R. 6115.0220, subp. 5....But here, the MPCA’s cursory evaluation cannot be the substantial basis for the DNR’s determination that its project involves a minimum of encroachment, change, or damage to the environment and will not adversely affect Hoffman Lake or West McDonald Lake. Because the proposed project will discharge additional pollutants from Hoffman Lake to West McDonald Lake and because the federal water-transfer rule does not apply in Minnesota, we conclude that the DNR violated state regulations by failing to obtain an NPDES permit."
Winning of the lawsuit came with a heavy price of over $70,000 in legal fees. With great support from the Lake Association, that number is now down to about $17,000. There was also about $16K that we had in our account prior to the lawsuit that was used for legal fees as well. We, the West Mac Lake Association, are trying to raise $33,000 to help pay our legal fees that help all MN lake property owners to keep Minnesota Lakes clean. Please support our effort