Midwest Region

Public Comment Sought on Proposal by Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, to Construct a New Visitor and Environmental Education Center, Outdoor Public Use Facilities, and Intern Bunkhouse in Carver County


A new visitor and environmental education center in addition to outdoor environmental education and interpretive facilities and an intern bunkhouse are proposed on the Rapids Lake Unit, Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge.  The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) desires to learn of public interests about environmental impacts, historic preservation, and compatible uses.  The public is encouraged to submit written comments to the Acting Refuge Manager, Tom Kerr, Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge, 3815 American Boulevard East, Bloomington, Minnesota, 55425, by July 18, 2005.  Written comments may also be sent via facsimile to 612-725-3279 or electronic mail to:  The Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge will also host an open house on July 7, 2005 from 5:00 to 8:00 PM at the Carver Village Hall, 316 Broadway, Carver, Minnesota, to answer any questions and learn of public interests about this proposal.   


The Service is providing the public an opportunity to comment on this proposal through the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) process.  Four alternatives, including the no action alternative, for developing public use facilities on the Rapids Lake Unit of the Refuge have been identified and are being presented within a draft Environmental Assessment (EA) for formal public review and comment.  Public input will help an interdisciplinary team complete the environmental analysis of this project by addressing important issues and concerns raised by the public.  Copies of the draft EA are available below or at the Refuge Visitor Center located at 3815 American Boulevard East, Bloomington, Minnesota, 55425, or can be requested by telephone at 952-854-5900.   


The proposed project is also being reviewed under Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act.  The area of potential effect for this undertaking is the entire Rapids Lake Unit formerly known as the Mittelsted farm.  A large number of archaeological and cultural sites exist on or near Refuge lands, including the Rapids Lake Unit.  These sites include historic Native American village sites and burial mounds, early 19th century trading posts and ferry crossings, and early 20th century bridges and farmsteadsThe public is requested to inform the Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge about archaeological sites, buildings and structures, historic places, cemeteries, and traditional uses of the area that could influence decisions about the project. 


In accordance with the National Wildlife Refuge System Improvement Act, prior to allowing a new public use or activity on the Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge, the Service must determine if the use is compatible with Refuge purposes.  The Service would like to know what the public thinks about the proposed Refuge uses; and about studies regarding the effects of such uses.  Three compatibility determinations have been drafted and are available for review and comment at the Refuge Visitor Center or can be requested by telephone at 952-854-5900.  The compatibility determinations are presented below and are also available at the Chaska Library, Carver City Hall, and Jordan City Hall.


Draft Environmental Assessment

Compatibility Determination for Environmental Education Center

Compatibility Determination for Underground Electrical LinesCompatibility Determination for Natural Gas Lines

Section 7 Review (listed species)

First Amended Section 7 Review

Second Amended Section 7 Review


Map 1- Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge Units                

Map 2 -  Existing Site of Gehl-Mittelsted house                                                         

Map 3- Renovation of Gehl-Mittelsted House on Terrace                           

Map 4-  Rapids Lake Unit - North Bluff                                                                  

Map 5- Rapids Lake Unit - Edge of Road                                         

Map 6-  Rapids Lake Unit - Southern Terace Area                                                    

Map 7- Rapids Lake and Louisville Swamp Units                                

Map 8-   Bloomington Ferry Unit                                                                        

Map 9- Parcel Overlooking Gehl-Mittelsted House                                       

Map 10- Intern Housing on Terrace Overlooking Gehl-Mittelsted House                                      

Map 11- Intern Housing Combined with Visitor Center on Terrace                

Map 12- Trail Concept                                                                                                             

Map 13- Main Access Road                                                                           

Map 14- Rapids Lake Proposed Development Features                                                               

Map 15- Visitor Facilities Concept Plan                                                          

Map 16- Alternative A (Proposed Action - New)                                                                            

Map 17- Alternative B (No Action)                                                                

Map 18- Alternative C (Public Uses on Terrace/Bunkhouse near Residence)                       

Map 19- Alternative D (Public Uses Only/Postpone Bunkhouse)                  

Map 20- Rapids Lake Unit - Land Use                                                                  

Map 21- Site 1 (Terrace West of Gehl-Mittelsted House; Alts. A, C and D)     

Map 22- Site 2 (Grassland Near New Rapids Lake Maintenance Complex; Alternative A)           

Map 23- Site 3 (Existing Site of Gehl-Mittelsted House; Alternative B)          

Map 24- Minnesota River 100- and 500-year Floodplains at the Rapids Lake Unit                   

Map 25- Site 4 (Bluff Top Land Formerly Known as the Lutz Farm-Revised; Alternative C)


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Last updated: March 3, 2009