The National Park Service and the Minnehaha Creek Watershed District have determined that the wetland immediately surrounding Coldwater Springs is “solely,” 100-percent, manmade. The limestone Spring House and reservoir was constructed as a military-industrial waterworks complex to pump water to Fort Snelling from 1880 to1920.
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Coldwater Springs has been flowing at least 10,000-years. The NPS theory is that Coldwater has been “disturbed” so it is no longer natural. Coldwater runs at about 80,000 to 90,000 gallons a day. The earliest Native American artifact found in the area is a 9,000-year-old bison spear point.
The Mendota Mdewakanton Dakota Community considers Coldwater a sacred site.
The “incidental” (manmade) finding is an interpretation. This reading of wetland rules will permit the NPS to take water pressure off the south end of Coldwater reservoir where numerous springs run through reservoir walls. NPS plans to inject concrete around the reservoir to FIX it in place for the next century.
40-percent of the water that was flowing into the reservoir, or maybe 20-percent (the figures change), will be diverted southward and then down the bluff. The secondary Coldwater Creek will have its own little bridge and then join the primary Coldwater Creek to tumble down the Mississippi gorge.
John Anfinson, local NPS Chief of Natural and Cultural Resources with a history doctorate, stated: “We begin history here in 1820.” (Hear the statement in a Coldwater KFAI radio documentary linked at www.FriendsofColdwater.org.)
1820 is when 200 US Army soldiers under Lt. Col. Henry Leavenworth followed a path from the canoe landing near where Coldwater empties into the Mississippi—up to the spring.
The Board of Managers of the Minnehaha Creek Watershed District is scheduled to reconsider its “solely” manmade vote at the Thursday, May 3 meeting, at 6:45 PM, at watershed offices, 18202 Minnetonka Boulevard in Deephaven, MN.