EAW-Nisbit submittal_01152013 - [PDF Document] (2024)

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Nisbit Mine Environmental Assessment Saratoga Twp, Section 35 Winona, Minnesota 1 Worksheet

ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT WORKSHEET

Note to preparers: This form and EAW Guidelines are available at the Environmental Quality Board’s website at: http://www.eqb.state.mn.us/EnvRevGuidanceDocuments.htm. The Environmental Assessment Worksheet (EAW) provides information about a project that may have the potential for significant environmental effects. The EAW is prepared by the Responsible Governmental Unit or its agents to determine whether an Environmental Impact Statement should be prepared. This project proposer must supply any reasonably accessible data for – but should not complete – the final worksheet. If a complete answer does not fit into the space allotted, attach additional sheets as necessary. The complete question as well as the answer must be included if the EAW is prepared electronically. Note to reviewers: Comments must be submitted to the RGU during the 30-day comment period following notice of the EAW in the EQB Monitor. Comments should address the accuracy and completeness of information, potential impacts that warrant further investigation and the need for an EIS. 1. Project Title: Nisbit Mine

2. Proposers: Tom Rowekamp, CEO IT Sands

LLC and David Nisbit and Sherry Nisbit (landowners)

3. RGU: Winona County

Contact Person Jeffrey S. Broberg, McGhie

& Betts Environmental Services, Inc.

Contact Person Jason Gilman, AICP

and Title MN Licensed Professional

Geologist Consultant to the Proposers

and Title Planning and Environmental Services Director

Address 1648 Third Avenue SE Address 177 Main Street

Rochester, MN 55904 Winona, Minnesota 55987

Phone 507-289-3919 Phone 507-457-6337

Fax 507-289-7333 Fax

E-mail [emailprotected] E-mail [emailprotected]

4. Reason for EAW Preparation: EIS

Scoping

Mandatory EAW

Citizen Petition

X

RGU Discretion

Proposer Volunteered

If EAW or EIS is mandatory give EQB rule category subpart number and name:

The EQB received a petition requesting an EAW for this project and designated Winona County as the RGU. This EAW has been prepared in response to the citizen petition to assist the RGU in making a

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Nisbit Mine Environmental Assessment Saratoga Twp, Section 35 Winona, Minnesota 2 Worksheet

determination of potential significant environmental effects and in reviewing and assessing the application of a Conditional Use Permit, as required by Winona County Zoning Ordinance Section 9.10. 5. Project Location: County Winona City/Twp Saratoga Twp

Part of the SW ¼ of the NE ¼ of Section 35 and Part of the NE ¼ of the SE ¼ of Section 35; ALL in Township 105N Range 10W

GPS Coordinates: 43°51'22.542"N 91°59'11.185"W

Tax Parcel Number David Nisbit – 14.000.2521

Thomas Campbell – 14.000.2522

The Nisbit property is 74.09-acres in size and is owned by David & Sherry Nisbit, 14444

Gathje Lane, Utica, MN 55979. The proposed 19.1-acre mine proposes to install 0.59-acres

of new private haul road on the Nisbit site and another 0.77-acres for a new private haul

road and driveway entrance on to CR 113 on the 96.77-acre Tom Campbell property to the

south (11763 County Road 6, St. Charles, MN 55972), while utilizing 1.08-acres of the

existing Gathje Lane for access. The total combined project size is 21.5-acres.

Note – acreages are from the Winona County GIS parcel ID’s. Tables included in the EAW:

Table 1 – Soils Characteristics

Table 2 – Annual Vehicle-related Air Emissions Figures attached to the EAW:

Figure 1 – County Map

Figure 2 – USGS Map

Figure 3 – Vicinity Map

Figure 4 – New Construction

Figure 5 – Existing Conditions

Figure 6 – Phase 1 Proposed Operations

Figure 7 – Phase 2 Proposed Operations

Figure 8 – Haul Route

Figure 9 – Final Reclamation Plan

Figure 10 – Pre-Settlement Vegetation

Figure 11 – 1940 Aerial

Figure 12 – 1991 Aerial

Figure 13 – 2010 Aerial

Figure 14 – Hydrology Map

Figure 15 – Environmental Benefits Index

Figure 16 – County Well Index Map

Figure 17 – Bedrock Geology Map

Figure 18 – Depth to Restrictive Layer

Figure 19 – Sinkhole Probability Map

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Nisbit Mine Environmental Assessment Saratoga Twp, Section 35 Winona, Minnesota 3 Worksheet

Figure 20 – Soils Map

Figure 21 - Project Area Mines Appendix attached to the EAW:

Appendix 1 – Traffic Impact Analysis for Nisbit Sand Mine

Appendix 2 – MnDOT Seed Mixtures

Appendix 3 – NHIS Database Results

Appendix 4 – County Well Index Well Logs

Appendix 5 – Soils Information

Appendix 6 – US EPA DEQ Air Emissions

Appendix 7 – SHPO Letter 6. Description:

a. Provide a project summary of 50 words or less to be published in the EQB Monitor. The Nisbit Mine is proposed on 19.1 acres in Saratoga Township, Winona County Minnesota.

The primary purpose of the mine is to remove silica sand for export as industrial sand. Other

uses include dairy bedding and construction footings. The sand will be hauled by truck on public

roads to Winona.

b. Give a complete description of the proposed project and related new construction. Attach

additional sheets as necessary. Emphasize construction, operation methods and features that will cause physical manipulation of the environment or will produce wastes. Include modifications to existing equipment or industrial processes and significant demolition, removal or remodeling of existing structures. Indicate the timing and duration of construction activities. Proposed Project

The applicant portrays the proppant sand mining activity as a small scale / short duration

activity on 20 acres lasting 3 years with a portion of the mine continuing to supply dairy bedding

sand for local markets. The mine is located in Section 35 of Saratoga Township in Winona

County, Minnesota located approximately 4 miles south of intersection of Winona CR 6 and CR

33 near the rural village of Clyde (Figure 1). The Project is located in a sparsely populated area

where the topography and bedrock conditions expose high quality silica sandstone resources of

the upper St. Peter Sandstone Formation (Figure 2).

Silica sand will be mined, transported and sold to the Brannt Valley load out and sand washing

facility in Winona where it will ultimately be screened by grain size and shipped out of the state

for final use as a proppant for hydraulic fracturing of hydrocarbon wells. The operator estimates

80 percent of the sand will be transported to the Winona facility while 20-25 percent of the

silica sand will be utilized locally for dairy bedding and construction uses.

Initial processing of silica sand will occur on the site by excavating the sand and placing it into a portable jaw crusher and portable screen designed to remove larger cemented stones and very

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Nisbit Mine Environmental Assessment Saratoga Twp, Section 35 Winona, Minnesota 4 Worksheet

fine sand, but will be limited to the rapid sorting of large and fine materials. Silica sand of proppant quality will be truck hauled to an off-site location for washing, grain size sorting and final processing. The Nisbit project cannot address final sand washing or other processing, rail loading or interstate transport which will take place at an existing permitted facility in Winona that is not part of this project.

This mining operation is expected to last for two to three years at which time the site will be

restored with existing overburden and returned to grassland or pasture.

The project is subject to the Winona County Zoning Ordinance as well as applicable County,

State or Federal laws and regulations.

Property and Project Site Information

The 19.1-acre mine site is located in Part of the SW ¼ of the NE ¼ of Section 35 and Part of the

NE ¼ of the SE ¼ of Section 35; ALL in Saratoga Township, Winona County Minnesota. The

parcel lies on the north side of Gathje Lane, a dead-end private road that serves adjoining

parcels. Gathje Lane enters CR 113 approximately 2.8 miles south of the intersection with CR

6/CR 124 and ½ mile north of the Fillmore County Line (Figure 3).

The Nisbit property encompasses 74.09-acres of agricultural land. The 19.1-acre proposed mine

site lies on an east-west trending sandstone ridge that is agricultural land devoted to former

pastured grasslands and row crops. Mr. Nisbit and his family live at a farmstead on the site and

their home is located more than 850 feet west of the mining area. The farmstead utilizes a

private water supply well. Six other parcels adjoin the Nisbit Mine (Figure 3):

1) Roger and Rita Baer, 30271 CR 109, Lewiston, MN 55952: 507-523-3194. A parcel to the

northwest with a homestead 3,200 feet from the proposed mine. According to the

Minnesota Department of Health County Well Index (CWI) there is a 500 foot deep, cased

and grouted well on a small parcel adjacent to the Baer site (Unique No. 695896 in the

NW/4 of the SW/4 sec 35, T105N R10W).

2) Rachael Boyum, 16172 Grover Dr, Utica, MN 55979: 507-875-2417. A 120-acre parcel east

and northeast of the Nisbit Mine has an abandoned farmstead with no serviceable buildings.

The CWI indicates no record of a private well. The farm is enrolled in the Agricultural Land

Preservation Program.

3) Harmon Family Farms, 33639 Dailey Road Utica, MN 55979: 507-875-2417. A 105-acre

parcel to the southwest is utilized as agricultural land. No farmsteads or wells are present

on this property. The farm is enrolled in the Agricultural Land Preservation Program.

4) James Holien, 14425 Gathje Lane, Utica, MN 55979: A 5-acre parcel located 980 feet west

of the Nisbit Mine has a farmstead with no record of a private well.

5) Craig Harmon, 33639 Dailey Road Utica, MN 55979: 507-932-3229. A 237-acre parcel to the

west and southwest with a farmstead 3,200 feet west-southwest from the proposed mine.

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Nisbit Mine Environmental Assessment Saratoga Twp, Section 35 Winona, Minnesota 5 Worksheet

According to the CWI the Harmon’s have a cased and grouted well that is 490 feet deep with

casing to 452 feet. (Unique No. 132675 in the NE/4 of NE/4 sec 34, T105N R10W).

6) Bill Debruyckere, 14615 Gathje Lane Utica, MN 55979: 507-932-0608. A 20-acre parcel to

the south with an occupied residence more than 1,500 feet south of the Nisbit Mine.

According to the CWI the site has a 420 foot deep cased and grouted well into the Jordan

Formation. (Unique No. 641660 in the NE/4 of SE/4 sec 35 T105N R10W).

7) Thomas Campbell, 11763 CR 6 St. Charles, MN 55972: 507-932-4028. A 102-acre farm with

no buildings or residents to the south and southeast.

The proposed sand mine is a dry bedrock ridge and there are no wetlands, water courses, major

drainage systems or impounded waters within the limits of the proposed mine.

The proposed mine will not wash sand on site and will not require a well or any other water

appropriation.

Winona County shows the property is currently zoned Agriculture/Resource Conservation.

Extraction pits and mining operations are permitted in the A/RC zoning district when reviewed

and approved as part of a Winona County Conditional Use Permit.

Infrastructure

The Nisbit parcel is served by a private road, Gathje Lane that is subject to private easem*nts.

Gathje Lane enters Winona CR 113 about ½ mile north of the Fillmore County line (Figure 3).

Sand hauled to City of Winona will leave the driveway, located on the Thomas Campbell

property, turn right onto CR 113 and proceed east to CSAH 33, turning north (left) on CASH 33

and proceed north on CSAH 33 through Utica to US Highway 14. From this point turn east (right)

on US 14 and proceed east through Lewiston and Stockton to Goodview Rd. in Winona entering

the Brannt Valley load out and sand washing facility.

There are no pipelines, power transmission lines or other infrastructure on the parcel or on

adjoining properties.

New Construction

Two private driveways constructed to a width of 24 feet will extend south from the mine site

onto Gathje Lane from the western (0.46-acre) and eastern boundary (0.13-acre) of the mining

area. From this point the existing private driveway, Gathje Lane (1.08-acre) will connect to a

temporary private drive (0.77-acre) that will be constructed through existing cropland on the

Campbell property. This drive will be constructed along the west edge of the existing right-of-

way (ROW) of CR 113 and will extend approximately ½ mile south to a field drive entrance that

connects to CR 113 (Figure 4). The private drive on the Campbell property was recommended

by the applicant and agreed to by the Winona County Highway Engineer to alleviate concerns

over site distances at the Gathje Lane/CR 113 intersection. The private haul road will be

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Nisbit Mine Environmental Assessment Saratoga Twp, Section 35 Winona, Minnesota 6 Worksheet

designed for two-way loaded traffic and will be constructed of crushed rock and covered with

crushed rock or recycled bituminous. The entry to the county road will be surfaced with

recycled bituminous within the public ROW. Structured entrances or tire cleaning measures will

be employed to mitigate potential tracking and dust from vehicles.

Empty trucks returning to the site will continue to use the driveway on the Campbell property

which is a private driveway with easem*nts granted to multiple parties that dictate the

operations and maintenance. The applicant is proposing to maintain and improve Gathje Lane.

Additional new construction will be confined within the 19.1-acre mining area boundary and will

consist of grading for stormwater control best management practices. Temporary perimeter

ring berms, ring ditches and sediment basins will be constructed with on-site materials. Other

temporary structures may include scales, scale shacks, crushers/screeners and a portable

bathroom facility (port-a-potty). The mine will not require construction of any well, ponds or

permanent structures for storage of equipment or materials. All operation management will be

conducted in a temporary job trailer.

Operations Methods - Mining Sequence

The mining will be conducted in two phases.

1. Phase 1 (7.8-acres) proposes to extract sand from the top of a grassland ridge beginning

at an elevation of 1,233 feet down to an elevation of 1,190 feet to existing pastureland

(Figure 5). The mining will be conducted in three stages (Stage 1A, 1B and 1C) progressing

from east to west (Figure 6). Temporary restoration will follow the mining once the

working areas are 3 to 5 acres in size.

2. Phase 2 (19.1-acres) of the mining will extract sand from west to east in three stages

(Stage 2A, 2B and 2C) from elevation 1,210 feet to a base elevation of 1,170 feet. During

this phase sand will be mined along the north and south flanks of the pasture ridge in

areas now devoted to row crop production. Permanent restoration will be completed as

the working area expands to 3-5 acres (Figure 6 & 7).

Before mining activities begin the construction of mining infrastructure, soil stripping and

installation of berms and sediment control features will be completed. This will include

construction of truck access roads and the perimeter berm and ditch and sediment basins. The

mining area will have top soil removed and reserved for restoration in stockpiles on the

perimeter of the Phase 1 mining activity. Seeded and stabilized berms will partially screen the

site while providing wind shelter for the working areas of the mine.

Phase 1

Phase 1 of the mine proposes to excavate in three stages from east to west covering

approximately 7.8-acres beginning with Stage 1A (2.73-acres) and progressing to Stage 1B (2.73-

acres) and 1C (2.32-acres) across the top of the ridge (Figure 6). Excavation will begin at an

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Nisbit Mine Environmental Assessment Saratoga Twp, Section 35 Winona, Minnesota 7 Worksheet

elevation of 1,230 feet and mine down to an elevation of 1,200 feet (±5 feet). During this phase

the limestone and shale cap rock (overburden) that overlies the sand above the 1,220 foot

elevation will be removed to access the sand. The applicants have indicated the limestone

overburden materials have beneficial use as road rock and a portion of the limestone will be

crushed and used for road base to maintain the private roadways that lead to CR 113. The

remaining proportion not utilized for road rock will be retained, stockpiled and reserved for sub-

grade materials to be used during the site restoration.

During Stage 1A a deeper 3-acre excavation located within Stage 1C will be made to the 1,170

foot elevation in order to extract the sand and create an area for placing overburden and fine

sand waste. This allows the removal of the cap rock and creates a place to start the mine

restoration with the overburden and rock waste.

Temporary restoration between the reclamation of Stage 1A-1C and the beginning of Phase 2

mining will involve slope stabilization, black dirt spreading and temporary vegetation

establishment of Stage 1A and 1B in a timely manner, while not interfering with the mining

operation. The final excavation of Stage 1C will be the starting point for Phase 2, Stage 2A.

Phase 2

Phase 2 of the mine proposes to excavate in three stages from west to east covering

approximately 19.1-acres beginning with Stage 2A (6.6-acres) and progressing to Stage 2B (8.27-

acres) and 2C (4.2-acres) where excavation will begin at an elevation of 1,200 feet to 1,170 (±5

feet) at the base (Figure 7). Although Stage 2A and 2B are greater than 5-acres no more than 5

acres will be open in any phase per year. It is estimated that approximately 200,000 cubic yards

per year will be mined in stages based on elevation.

Due to the topography of the mine site, there may be some variation in phase boundaries and

stockpiling locations as the mine progresses. Variations in phase boundaries will not exceed 5-

acres in size.

Measures will be taken continuously to keep any drainage internal within the mine boundary, a

strategy assisted by the sandy, highly permeable substrate. The perimeter berm and swales will

be incorporated to direct flow into proposed sediment traps.

Phase 2 will proceed from west to east from the 30 foot property line setback developing the

finished 3:1 slope and mining to the target elevation. Mining operations will be similar to those

described above for Phase 1. Upon completion of each phase, permanent restoration will be

completed with the on-site soils and seeding and mulching will take place. Reclaimed phases

will be returned to grassland as soon as mining operations do not conflict.

The mine operator proposes to restore the area to a grassland with perennial grasses and forbs

for cover employing a final grading plan that takes into account the natural setting and erosion

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mitigation. The landowners and mine operators are not proposing to restore the area to

agricultural production; however, if future parties who own or operate the land after the CUP

has expired seek to crop the land they must contact the NRCS/SWCD office for assistance on the

proper procedures for returning the site to row crop production. Factors to be addressed for

returning the reclamation area to row crop production are soil depth, topsoil depth and color,

organic content of soils, nutrient content of soil and drainage upstream, within and downstream

of reclamation area.

Site Access, Hauling and Hours of Operation

The existing access to the site is from CR 113 on the west on Gathje Lane, which lies south of the

mining area. The access shall be shared with the existing house on the property and the

neighbor who is located south of Gathje Lane. The access for the residence must be maintained

at all times.

Haul routes to and from the site will be on County Roads, County State Aid Highways and US

Highways capable of accommodating the maximum traffic. Hauling will avoid Township Roads

and unpaved roads.

Haul routes must be approved as part of the Winona County Zoning (Conditional Use) permitting

process and are subject to public hearing.

Plans are for access from CR 113 east to CSAH 33 north to US Highway 14 and east to Goodview

Rd. at the Brannt Valley load out and sand washing facility in Winona, MN (Figure 8). Proposed

conditions require proper “truck hauling” signage per MnDOT standards. This is to ensure only

the approved access sites are utilized for ingress and egress.

The mining activities propose to generate a total maximum of 280 truck trips per day (140 empty trucks in and 140 loaded trucks out). The trucks will have a one-hour round-trip per truck from the Nisbit mine to the Winona load-out. There will also be 6 employee trips per day (3 in and 3 out). This equates to 26 truck trips and 6 employee trips during the weekday peak hours (7:00 - 9:00 a.m. and 4:00 - 6:00 p.m.) for a total of 26 trips in and out during the peak hours. Plans have been developed to generate the total maximum truck trips of 280 per day may occur if market demand increases, however, at the current time mining activities are planned to operate with 10 trucks generating a total of 120 loaded trips per day and 120 empty trips per day.

All of the study intersections have been evaluated based on existing traffic and with 280 trips per day are forecasted to operate acceptably at Level of Service (LOS) B or better (where, LOS B represents stable flow with a high degree of freedom and LOS A represents light traffic flow or free flow conditions) with additional Nisbit Mine truck traffic. The “Traffic Impact Analysis for Nisbit Sand Mine” prepared by Wenck Associates, Inc. concluded that the CSAH 33/CR113 intersection has sight distance deficiencies, however, due to the very low traffic volumes physical improvements to the roadways to increase the sight distances are not justified

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Nisbit Mine Environmental Assessment Saratoga Twp, Section 35 Winona, Minnesota 9 Worksheet

(Appendix 1). The proposer will install signage to alert drivers of hauling trucks. No road segments are forecasted to reach capacity with the additional truck traffic from the Nisbit mine.

According to the Winona County Zoning Ordinance Performance Standards (Section 9.10.3, Item

6) and recommended Conditional Use Permit conditions the proposed mining may take place

Monday through Friday between the hours of 7 AM and 10 PM CST (13 hours/day) and Saturday

from 7 AM to 12 PM CST (five hours). Permission from the County Zoning Administrator may be

granted for operations beyond these hours to respond to public or private emergencies or

whenever any reasonable or necessary repairs to equipment are required to be made. Mining

will occur on the site year around, however, hauling is generally restricted to approximately 200

days per year excluding Saturdays and Sundays, holidays and during road bans or when

temperatures are below 10°F. Hauling will take place Monday through Friday between the

hours of 7 AM and 7 PM CST and from 7 AM to 12 PM CST Saturday. Hauling cannot be

conducted during the MnDOT Spring Highway Weight Restrictions.

Extraction and Processing Equipment

Mining and on-site processing activities will include earth excavating, blasting, screening,

crushing, and loading materials. Various types of heavy earthwork machinery principally

backhoes, loaders and dump trucks will be used to strip and stockpile topsoil. Blasting may be

needed for the removal of the limestone overburden at the beginning of Phase 1, but will not be

necessary for the excavation and removal of the sand in future phases. Limestone overburden

from the Platteville formation may be used for crushed aggregate for maintenance of roads and

work areas and large flat rock would be suitable for landscape stone or for streambank

stabilization projects.

Fine sand not used for industrial sand and construction materials will be used for dairy sand,

local construction and mine restoration. Loaders and elevators will be used for loading of silica

sand for export onto trucks. Periodic processing with portable crushers and portable dry

screening may be used based on the grain size, quality and hardness of the materials

encountered during the excavation.

Crushing and screening are proposed to be conducted on the site with portable equipment that

will follow the working face. Crushers will be used when pockets or beds in the sand are well

cemented and require disaggregation by crushing to separate sand grains. Dry screening will be

utilized to sort out particles, clumps and grains larger than the #20 screen size and to separate

the fine sand that passes the #70 sieve.

No washing, wet screening or final processing of excavated material will take place on-site. The

material will be transported to another location for further processing by the purchaser.

Except for the two haul roads all excavation, stockpiling, equipment storage and on-site

processing (crushing/screening) will be done within the proposed mining limits (Figure 4).

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Sand stockpiles will not exceed 24 feet in height and elevators will be used to pile the sand for

truck loading. Stockpiles will be active while the mining, sand excavation and load out is

occurring.

Blasting

Blasting may be necessary to remove the Platteville Limestone cap rock off the ridge and to

loosen any well cemented sandstone at the top of the St. Peter sand at the beginning of the

mine operations. Based on other sand workings currently used for dairy bedding and based on

the initial test pits and rock samples we do not anticipate blasting will be required. If blasting is

necessary the owner and operator will retain professional and licensed blasting contractors who

operate in accordance with all federal, state, county and township regulations. No explosives

will be stored on the site. The blasting contractor will notify all adjoining neighbors in advance

and identify the time and duration of the event. Vibration monitoring shall be done as

necessary at adjacent homes and structures within ¼ mile of the proposed blast area.

Restoration Earthwork

Any overburden materials having no marketable value will be used to build the mine roads and

backfill previously mined areas, especially along the finished slopes.

In Phase 1, the mining operation will dig to the target depth of 1,170 feet on the east end. A

portion of Stage 1C will be excavated during this stage to create a 3-acre area to place

overburden and unusable fine sand to begin restoration as the mining proceeds (Figure 6). The

mining will proceed from east to west from stage 1A to allow for any overburden to be placed in

the restoration area on the west end and along the perimeter of the Phase 1 mining area. This

process will be continuous and ongoing from year to year and will proceed so that a 1.5 to 3.0

acre working area will remain open.

Areas depleted of sand for each phase will be temporarily restored with topsoil previously

stripped from the site or derived from the slopes within the footprint of the mine plan. The

topsoil will be re-vegetated with perennial grasses (pasture mix) until the Phase 2 mining

progresses back over the area to recover the deeper sand.

The final slope along the eastern mine boundary will be a maximum of 3:1 leaving a mound

along the east property line. The final restoration will place topsoil back over the mined area at

an elevation that will vary from 1,165 feet (±5 feet) on the north to 1,170 feet (±5 feet) on the

south creating a low profile ridge across the center of the site (Figure 9). The final reclaimed

slopes will be stabilized with topsoil and will be seeded and mulched for restoration as a sand

prairie grassland.

Restoration Re-Vegetation

The restoration plan is in two phase: 1) temporary restoration with a sandy area roadside mix

and 2) final restoration for sand prairie grassland.

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Phase 1 will be temporarily restored to re-establish topsoil and perennial pasture grass

vegetation. Once restoration begins we would blade the topsoil originally removed from the hill

back over the site to a depth of 8” to 1 foot and seed this area with a perennial grass mix

MNDOT240 Sandy roadside mix at a rate of 75#/acre.

MNDOT Mix 240

Sandy Roadside

Common Name

Comments Bulk Rate lb/ac

% of mix component

Brome grass, smooth 9.7 13

Bluegrass, Kentucky

“Certified park”

20.2 27

Bluegrass, Canada 9.7 13

Switch grass 1.9 2.5

Wheatgrass, slender 3.0 4.0

Fescue, hard “Reliant II”

5.3

7.0

Ryegrass, Perennial 15.0 20.0

Dropseed, sand

1.9

2.5

Bluestem, little Requires minimum 50%

pure live seed.

2.6 3.5

Red Clover

5.3 7.0

Prairie Clover, purple 0.4 0.5

Phase 2 final restoration will occur once the final depth of the mine is established at ± 1,165 -

1,170 foot elevation. The restoration goal is to restore the site with a grassland forb mix as

specified by MnDOT Seed Mix # 240 (figure 9). This restoration will occur after 3-acres of final

mining has occurred and will involve pushing and blading the previously removed topsoil over

the mined surface to a minimum depth of 8 inches. This will be followed by seeding with the

same seed mix described above.

NOTE: Additional activities may be warranted due to site conditions, weather conditions or

phasing limitations.

Final Reclamation

1) Disposition of Structures and Roads. All processing and mining equipment will be

removed. The truck access road will be removed and returned to sandy prairie

grassland. All private driveway accesses to residences and farm buildings will remain.

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2) Soil Re-application. The soils will be replaced first with B Horizon soils and covered with

the A Horizon (topsoil) to a minimum depth of 8 inches. The topsoil shall be replaced

as uniformly as possible.

3) Safety Assurances. In order to control safety hazards there will be no public access to

the mine. Access to the site for mine workers and truck drivers is located to provide

appropriate vision for ingress/egress and internal logistics for the operation of

equipment and circulation of trucks as they are loaded. The operation will follow Mine

Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) regulations. The reclaimed slopes will be no

greater than 3:1 slopes.

Dust control will be conducted with water, chloride and/or other treatments on the

haul roads and water may be utilized on active working areas. Water will be

purchased from a local public water supplier with existing water appropriation permits

and will be hauled by tankers to the site.

4) Seeding Plan. The seeding of the mining site shall be done in accordance with

“Standards for Stabilization Treatments.” A standard MNDOT specified mixture of cool

season, warm season grasses, and legumes described above will be used for both

temporary restoration between Phase 1 and Phase 2 mining and for the final

reclamation after the mining is complete.

5) Future Use. The property owner and mine operator intend to reclaim the land to a

grassland. Following completion of reclamation and expiration of the Conditional Use

Permit, the property owner will continue to maintain the grassland and will assume

responsibility for future land use.

c. Explain the project purpose; if the project will be carried out by a governmental unit, explain

the need for the project and identify its beneficiaries.

The purpose of the project is to mine industrial silica sand, construction sand and dairy sand.

The St. Peter Sandstone found across the site will be mined and sorted to obtain high quality

industrial silica sand that is coarser than #70 (0.210 mm grain size) sieve size. Raw silica sand

will be truck hauled to the Brannt Valley load out and sand washing facility located in Winona

where it will be further processed (Figure 8).

The St. Peter sand is desirable for multiple purposes. The bulk of the coarse sand will be

exported from the area for use in various industries ranging from proppant used to enhance oil

and gas production and glass production. The remaining fine sand will be used locally as dairy

sand and fill.

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The mined material is subject to taxes/fees, including sales tax, which will provide a benefit to

the State of Minnesota, Winona County and Saratoga Township. The mining will employ

approximately 3 people working in the mine plus 10 truck drivers. Employment levels and hours

of operation may be expanded for short periods if necessary to meet demand and will likely be

reduced during the winter as temperature and weather reduce productivity.

d. Are future stages of this development including development on any other property planned or likely to happen? Yes No If yes, briefly describe future stages, relationship to present project, timeline and plans for environmental review.

e. Is this project a subsequent stage of an earlier project? Yes No

If yes, briefly describe the past development, timeline and any past environmental review.

7. Project Magnitude Data

Total Project Area (acres) 21.5 Area to be mined (acres) 19.1

Access roads (acres) 2.4

Number of Residential Units: NA

Unattached

NA Attached

NA Maximum Units Per Building:

NA

Commercial/Industrial/Institutional Building Area (gross floor space):

total square feet

N/A

Indicate area of specific uses (in square feet):

Office NA Manufacturing NA

Retail NA Other Industrial (mining) 19.1 acres (access roads) 2.4 acres

Warehouse NA Institutional NA

Light Industrial NA Agricultural 21.5 acres

Other Commercial (specify) Staging Area

A level area will be graded for stockpiles, truck loading areas, turn-arounds and a scale. This area will vary in size between Phases 1 and 2; Phase 1 - Stage 1A (1.09 ac), 1B (1.06 ac) and 1C (1.13 ac) and Phase 2 – Stage 2A (0.92 ac), 2B (1.14 ac) and 2C (0.7 ac). In all situations these areas will be temporary as mining progresses and will be reclaimed when mining is complete (Figure 6 & 7).

Building height NA If over 2 stories, compare to heights of nearby buildings

8. Permits and approvals required. List all known local, state and federal permits, approvals and financial

assistance for the project. Include modifications of any existing permits, governmental review of plans, and all direct and indirect forms of public financial assistance including bond guarantees, Tax Increment

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Financing and infrastructure. All of these final decisions are prohibited until all appropriate environmental review has been completed. See Minn. R. 4410.3100.

Unit of Government Type of Application Status

Winona County Conditional Use Permit Recommended for Approval by Planning Commission. Requires final approval by County Board following environmental review.

Winona County Driveway Access (change of use) To be applied for

Winona County Road Use Agreement To be applied for

Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA)

Nonmetallic Mining and Associated Activities NPDES/SDS Permit

To be applied for

The Migratory Bird Treaty Act applies to this project and the applicant cannot conduct brush clearing or tree removal during the primary nesting season (May 15 – August 1).

Wood will be used for firewood or chipped for use as mulch on site and brush may be burned on

site after receipt of a burning permit from the MN DNR.

Prior to the citizen petition for an EAW and during Winona County’s 3 month moratorium on

industrial sand mining a set of conceptual conditions of approval were considered which may be

used in conjunction with the review and approval of conditional use permits for industrial sand

mining. These preliminary condition are included in this EAW to provide information to the

reader on the realm of considerations and mitigation measures the County may consider in

conjunction with local permitting. The following is a list of the proposed conditions which may

be ratified by the County Board as part of a conditional use permit process:

Proposed General Conditions

1) An erosion control plan is required. Owner/applicant shall provide the County with a

detailed erosion control plan which shall mitigate erosion on neighboring property, wind

erosion mitigation and finished conditions stabilization. All crushing and processing work

must include watering/misting operations to minimize airborne particulate.

2) Hours of Operation are restricted. Hours of operation at the mining site shall be limited to

those specified in the application and shall not conflict with the minimum requirements

specified in Section 9.10.3(6) of the Winona County Zoning Ordinance. Additionally, there

shall be no hours of operation on the following observed holidays: New Years Day, Easter,

Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving and Christmas Day.

3) Setbacks are required. Mining operations shall not be conducted within 1,000 feet of an

existing residential dwelling or within 50 feet of an existing well. The principal owner of the

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proposed mine site may submit a written consent letter to the County, waiving the 1,000

foot setback requirement, however, no home shall exist within 300 feet of a proposed mine

and no waiver shall be granted for less than a 300 foot setback. The County reserves the

right to impose greater setback restrictions on a case by case basis, where necessary to

mitigate adverse impacts on neighboring land uses.

4) Air Quality Monitoring. In cases where residential homes exist within 1,320 feet of a

proposed mining site, the owner/applicant shall be responsible for the costs of air quality

monitoring by a professional selected by the County. Air quality standards shall not exceed

a maximum allowable limit of 3ug/m3 levels. If these levels are exceeded, mining

operations shall cease and be required to take necessary precautions to minimize airborne

particulate. The operator shall be required to monitor the ambient level of airborne

particulate matter of 2.5 microns in size (PM2.5) and Total Suspended Particulates (TSP). If

the air monitors show an exceedance of 35 micrograms per cubic meter of PM2.5 in any 24

hour period, the operator shall evaluate and implement additional best management

practices to minimize PM2.5 emissions. If the air monitors show an exceedance of 150

micrograms per cubic meter of TSP in any 24 hour period, the operator shall evaluate and

implement additional best management practices to minimize TSP. The operator shall

compile a quarterly summary of monitoring results report within 10 days of the end of each

month that shall be available to the County Board. A minimum of 3 scientific approved air

quality monitors are required in active mining areas available for staff review and data

collection at all times. Type/brand of monitor will be pre approved by all parties. Air Quality

Monitors shall be placed on the downwind perimeters of the land disturbance area and

separated by a minimum of 100 feet.

5) A Fugitive Dust Plan Is Required. Owner/applicant shall submit a comprehensive plan to

control fugitive dust on the site and during hauling operations. Access drives, shall be

watered and/or conditioned regularly to minimize dust at all times. A tire wash system

must be installed at the mine site to minimize migration of sand and dust to adjacent

roadways.

6) Stock piles. All stock piles shall be kept below 24 feet in height except where stockpiles are

covered to prevent wind erosion or where stockpiles are regularly watered to prevent

surface areas from drying out and becoming susceptible to windborne erosion or where

stockpiles are protected by excavated banks, preventing windborne erosion. All stockpiles

shall not encroach upon any easem*nt, roadway or driveway and shall maintain a minimum

setback of 30 feet as required in Section 9.10.3(4) if the WCZO.

7) Water Quality Monitoring. The mine operator/owner shall install groundwater monitoring

wells adjacent to the proposed mine site where the site is within 1,320 feet of residential

plats or suburban development, springs, sinkholes and/or wellhead protection areas or

community wells and shall provide the County with groundwater testing by an independent

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environmental engineer, approved by the County, at the time of commencement of

disturbance activities and twice per year until 1 year after the mine has been completely

reclaimed.

8) Wetland Permitting. No mining operation shall affect existing wetlands either on site or

adjacent to proposed operations without the proper permitting.

9) Prohibited Activities. Blasting, milling and crushing shall not be permitted at the mine site,

except by specific Planning Department approval with specified time limits and mitigation of

airborne particulate. Applicants intending on blasting must submit detailed information as

to the frequency, duration, schedule and vibration standard/thresholds for review and

approval by the County Planning Department as part of the initial Conditional Use Permit

submittal for Public Hearing review. If approved, all crushing and processing work must

include watering/misting operations to minimize airborne particulate. Blasting will be

allowed up to 3 times per calendar year. Neighborhood notification will be sent to all

property owners within a ½ mile radius of the blasting activity.

10) Noise Levels Restricted. Owner/applicant must conform to all County ordinances with

regard and noise level thresholds.

11) Lighting / Glare. Lighting shall be hooded with cut-off style refractors and controlled in

some manner as required in Section 9.1.7 of the WCZO.

12) State BMP Guidelines. Owner/applicant shall use the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency’s

Environmental Management Best Management Practices used as a guidance tool and

reference document.

13) State and Federal Requirements. Owner/applicant shall abide by all local, state and federal

regulations, including Mine Safety and Health Administration standards. All applicable

permits shall be placed on file with the County prior to the commencement of mining

operations.

14) Project Manager/Contact Person Required. Owner/applicant shall at all times have an

agent whose name, fax number, telephone number/cellular number and email address are

on file with the County and Town Clerk in order to respond promptly to concerns. The

agents name and contact information shall be available on site on a 2’ x 3’ placard or sign at

the site entrance adjacent to the public right of way entrance.

15) MPCA Fuel and Hazardous Materials Storage Rules. Owner/applicant shall follow

Minnesota Pollution Control Agency regulations for Fuel and Hazardous Materials

Management as applicable on site.

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16) This conditional use permit shall be valid based on the owner/operator’s conformance with

the conditions specified herein and the applicable provisions of the Winona County Zoning

ordinance. Winona County shall hereby have the right to conduct an annual performance

review to assure conformance with the above stated provisions and to determine if

corrective action is required including but not limited to permit revocation.

17) Violations and Penalties. Owner/applicant/operator is hereby notified that violation of

the conditions of approval may result in the execution of a stop work order, bond

withdrawal, legal action or any combination thereof until such violation is permanently

corrected.

18) Requirements Prior to Mining to be Satisfied. Commencement of land disturbance and/or

mining activity shall be prohibited until all required submittals and above stated conditions

are met and approved by the County. It is highly recommended that the applicant provide

the County Planning Department with a schedule of submittals and answers matching the

conditions of approval and the timing of each submittal.

Road Use Conditions

19) A Road Use Agreement is Required. Owner applicant shall be required to enter into a road

use maintenance agreement with Winona County which shall specify the owner/applicant’s

responsibilities with regard to road maintenance costs based on the life expectancy of the

quarry including but not limited to:

Temporary posting and signage

Cracking

Sub base

Drainage

Surface conditions/distortion

Ride quality

Shoulder maintenance

Replacement costs based on pavement rating at the time of commencement of

mining operations.

20) Access Permit. Owner/applicant shall obtain an access permit from the County for where

mine traffic enters or exits onto a County highway. In addition, the owner/applicant shall

obtain all required local permits for access to Township roads and shall place the same on

file with the County.

21) Tracking Pad Required. The owner/applicant shall be responsible for paving the approach

to the county road for a minimum distance of 40 feet from the shoulder of the county road

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with asphalt. Tracking pads and tire washes shall be reviewed and be part of the fugitive

dust plan for control of dust/tracking.

22) Traffic is Limited by the Permit for Due Process Considerations. The quarry operation shall

not exceed 140 loaded trucks per day during normal operations, except as permitted by the

County for short term operations which must be defined at the time of the conditional use

permit review and approval. Any exceedance of 140 loaded trips per day shall be

immediately disclosed to the County for review.

23) Amendment to Traffic Levels Requires Review. Requests to re-evaluate average and

maximum daily-loaded trips in order to adjust annual road maintenance fees may occur two

years or beyond subsequent to the initial start up of the sand mining operation, subject to

the County Highway Engineer approval. This condition shall be applicable where annual

average traffic volume increase by 10% or more.

24) Seasonal Road Closures Apply. The County reserves the right to restrict or close roads

during spring-thaw periods or when otherwise warranted to prevent damage, and to close

roads when the conditions are deemed unsafe.

25) Reporting Vehicle Weights. Owner/Applicant shall be required to identify a method of

positive controls regarding the weight of vehicles leaving the mine and method to insure

vehicles do not exceed the weight limits of the roads and bridges upon which they will

travel, and obtain approval by the County Highway Engineer on the methods and frequency

of inspection used. Controls such as scales and regular reporting on vehicle weights shall be

implemented with minimum quarterly reporting to the County Highway Department in

conjunction with road use agreement reporting requirements.

26) Street Maintenance and Sweeping Required. Owner/applicant shall be responsible for

monitoring roadways and roadway sweeping as necessary to maintain safe conditions. All

transportation routes used by the mine shall not have any accumulation of visible debris or

sand from the mine site. The owner/applicant shall take all necessary precautions to avoid

spillage on Winona County roadways.

27) Requirement for Secure Loads. No vehicle shall be driven or moved on any roadway unless

such vehicle has the load securely covered as to prevent any of its load from dropping,

sifting, leaking, blowing, or otherwise escaping from vehicles.

28) Traffic Impact Analysis Required. Owner/applicant shall be responsible for the preparation

of a traffic study indicating any required improvements for ingress and egress, vision/sight

lines and traffic control within a service area defined by the County Highway Engineer

Owner/applicant shall be responsible for the cost of said improvements upon review and

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approval by the County Highway Engineer-prior to the commencement of mining

operations.

29) Local Road Use Agreement with Township Required. The owner/applicant shall be

responsible to enter into a road use agreement with the Township for the use of any local-

township road and shall be responsible for maintenance and repair of any damage resulting

from the proposed mining operation.

Reclamation Conditions

30) Reclamation Plan Required. A complete and detailed reclamation plan shall accompany all

applications which meets or exceeds the requirements of Section 9.10 of the WCZO. The

plan shall be prepared by a qualified professional with proper credentials for reclamation

plan preparation, specifying the following:

A systematic approach to land reclamation for the mining site, including phases and

schedule for reclamation with no more than 5 acres open in any phase per year. The

County reserves the right to review the conditional use permit annually to enforce

compliance.

Proposed land use after reclamation activities are completed-Reclamation plans for

sand mining sites shall include a land use/cover plan equal to the actual land use/cover

types previous to mining operations. Areas intended for post-mining agricultural uses

must approval by SWCD for best management practices.

Inactivity at the mine site shall require reclamation in accordance with the terms of the

NPDES permit. NPDES permit shall be placed on file with Winona County before

extraction/mining operations commence. Inactivity shall be defined as when an

operator of a surface mining operation has curtailed production at the site/operation

with the intent to resume at a future date, for a period of one year or more by more

than 90 percent of its maximum annual mineral production.

31) Subterranean Engineering Analysis Required. Owner/applicant shall submit an analysis

prepared by a qualified independent engineering firm of the existing geologic conditions

both in the extraction area and sub-extraction area and the impacts of the mining

operations, including the applicability of the reclamation plan including any potential

adverse affect on area hydrology, springs or Karst formations. The County reserves the right

to have this data reviewed by state geologists/hydrologists and/or SWCD and NRCS staff.

Financial Guarantees

32) Performance Guarantees Required. Performance bonds shall be required for the following:

110% of the estimated cost of reclamation for a period equal to the life of the quarry plus 2

years. Performance bonds for reclamation may only cover the areas of disturbance for the

duration of mining activity and may ‘roll’ with disturbance activity accordingly in order to

minimize financial burden on the applicant.

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110% of the estimated cost of the roadway maintenance agreement requirements for a

period of 5 years.

A performance surety shall be provided in the amount of $1,000 per acre for the total

proposed site disturbance. The surety shall be used to reimburse the County for any

monies, labor, or material expended to bring the operation into compliance with the

conditions of the permit.

Environmental Review

33) An EAW or EIS May Be Required Before CUP Application Acceptance. Discretionary

environmental review can be initiated by the Planning Commission and County Board. The

Owner/applicant shall provide an Environmental Assessment Worksheet for the proposed

site in accordance with Winona County standards.

Miscellaneous

34) Transferability/Severability. These conditions shall apply to all heirs, successors and assigns

and shall run with the land until such time as the conditional use permit is modified,

amended or terminated.

35) Proof of Authority Required. The applicant shall provide the County with a notarized

document assigning representation and proof of ownership of the land and mineral rights

for an application to be processed.

36) The applicant will work with the independent school districts along the proposed haul

route each year to identify bus stop locations in order to reach a mutual agreement to avoid

potential traffic hazards.

37) The petitioner meet with the Planning Commission as a courtesy to report that all

conditions and permits have been acquired prior to commencement of mining activities.

9. Land use. Describe current and recent past land use and development on the site and on adjacent lands. Discuss project compatibility with adjacent and nearby land uses. Indicate whether any potential conflicts involve environmental matters. Identify any potential environmental hazards due to past site uses, such as soil contamination or abandoned storage tanks, or proximity to nearby hazardous liquid or gas pipelines. The proposer has assessed historic land use using a variety of sources including:

Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (MNDNR) County Biological Survey which

shows no significant biodiversity sites on or adjoining the proposed mining area.

Land cover and “bearing tree” maps from the 1846-1908 Public Land Survey with pre-

settlement vegetation indicated the Nisbit Mine was prairie before the passage of the

Homestead Act of 1862 where the majority of land in Winona County was plowed for

agricultural production (Figure 10).

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The 1927 Winona County Atlas – Plat Book and Rural Directory of Winona County,

Minnesota indicated Section 35 of Saratoga Township was divided between 70-120 acre

parcels.

Historical review of the 1940, 1991 and 2010 aerial photographs showed the Nisbit Mine

was utilized for agricultural purposes (Figure 11, 12 and 13).

During the early agriculture history of the Nisbit area from 1880 to 1920 cropland was dominated

by small grains (oats, wheat, barley), hay or pasture lands worked with horse driven equipment.

As farming became mechanized with tractors and combines, corn began to dominate the cropland

in the 1930’s. With the advent of chemical nitrogen fertilizers after 1950, cropland was planted in

a hay, oats and corn rotation. Soybeans were introduced to more widespread cultivation in the

1970’s and hay and small grains began to diminish. Currently, the cropland is dominated by a corn

and soybean rotation that relies on heavy nitrogen fertilizer inputs and the use of chemical

herbicides.

The Nisbit sand ridge was cultivated for small grains with pasture on the steep south facing slope

until approximately 1940 when air photos show small grains and pasture on the ridge. Currently,

pasture fencing surrounds two areas currently not in row crops. The vegetation is typical of areas

formerly cultivated to row crops and utilized as sparse pastures.

The site is currently zoned Agricultural/Resource Conservation (A/RC). Current and recent land

uses are/were agricultural in nature with row crop and pasture lands located within the property.

These are the same uses as all adjacent lands. Mining operations will be located within the

cropland and pasture lands. There is no evidence indicating that there are, or have been

environmental hazards, other than the factors common to row crops such as groundwater

contamination from agricultural inputs or from soil loss and erosion.

The project is a temporary use that the proposer indicates is a small scale / short duration project

for proppant sand that will not continue indefinitely. Once the mine site is reclaimed, the

property will again be restored to grassland.

Winona County’s Comprehensive Plan’s Goals and Policies (p. 17, Development Goals and Policies) indicates the promotion of protection and preservation of agricultural lands by limiting non-agricultural development in agricultural areas. Although extraction of mineral resources has been a historic land use attributable to agricultural areas, industrial mining on a larger scale must be considered when altering land use patterns, specifically the removal of prime agricultural lands from crop production or pastures. While it is important to recognize that the proposed mining area is largely in crop production and a portion in brush/pasture, this will be an important consideration of post-mining reclamation.

Citizens along the described haul route from Nisbit to Winona have expressed concern that heavy truck traffic associated with industrial mining has the potential for causing a significant decrease in

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property values. According to the applicant three factors make it improbable that property values will be negatively impacted: o The number of trucks proposed does not trigger the need for land acquisition for roadways

and is not expected to exceed the capacity of County or State roadways. o The Nisbit project creates a temporary traffic impact. According to the applicant the project

will deplete the proppant sand in approximately three years under current market conditions. At the end of proppant sand mining traffic will decline to one or two trucks hauling a small number of loads weekly to satisfy the local demand for dairy sand and construction materials.

o The applicant has also cited the fact that property values in close proximity to highways already take into account affected values, both positively and negatively, based on the proximity to the roadway, roadway type, traffic and surround land uses.

On October 2, 2012, the Winona County Planning Department staff addressed land values in

describing and recommending approval of the Nisbit CUP saying that “The Planning Department

has addressed this concern with the County Assessor’s office and the findings are inconclusive; that

is; it is nearly impossible to measure value loss given the sporadic distribution of similar properties

on the route and the means of evaluating loss of value through comparable sales data. It is

important to note, however, that homes situated near busy roadways are known to have potential

value differences than like homes in other locations according to the Assessor’s office.”

10. Cover Types. Estimate the acreage of the site with each of the following cover types before and after

development: Nisbit Before After Before After Types 1-8 wetlands 0 0 Farm sites/lawn 0 0

Wooded/forest 1.76 0 Impervious Surfaces 1.08 1.54

Brush/pasture land 4.1 19.1 Stormwater pond

Cropland 14.6 0.9 Other (Right of Way)

TOTAL 21.5 21.5

If before and after totals are not equal, explain why.

Please refer to Figure 13 for reference.

Before mining 1.76-acres of trees are present within the 19.1-acre mining area. After mining the area will be restored to grassland.

Before mining 4.1-acres of existing brush/pasture land (grassland) is present at the site. After mining 4.1-acres of existing grassland, 1.76-acres of existing trees, and the 13.24-acres of existing cropland will be converted to grassland (19.1-acres total).

Before mining 13.24-acres of cropland and 1.36-acres (0.46- acre, 0.13-acre and 0.77-acre) of proposed roads are dominated by cropland. After mining is completed the 0.13-acre and 0.77-acre proposed roads will be restored back to cropland.

The 1.08-acre Gathje Lane will remain impervious before and after mining. Before mining 0.46-acres of existing agricultural land will be converted to a roadway for mine access on the west; after mining is complete this roadway will remain an impervious surface.

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11. Fish, Wildlife, and Ecologically Sensitive Resources. a. Identify fish and wildlife resources and habitats on or near the site and describe how they would

be affected by the project. Describe any measures to be taken to minimize or avoid impacts. The project site is currently dominated by smooth brome/bluegrass pasture land along the ridge top

with sparse trees and shrubs on the steep slopes and along the former pasture fence lines. The toe

of the slope at the mining site is surrounded by row crop agricultural land.

The Nisbit Mine is located within the Pine Creek sub-watershed of the Root River basin. The closest

protected water is Pine Creek located 3.47 miles to the southeast (Figure 14). Based on the sandy

nature of the Nisbit site and surrounding land and the long distance to any perennial streams there

are no fish habitats that will be impacted by mining activities. Other than on-site erosion and

sedimentation control there are no additional mitigation measures for adverse runoff impacts

proposed.

Wildlife resources and habitats on or near the site are limited to those associated with the species

inhabiting the agricultural cropland, fence rows, and isolated pastures. Wildlife observed by the

applicants consultant, Jeff Broberg, at and near the site includes: whitetail deer, raccoons, skunks,

wild turkeys, pheasants and a variety of other small birds and mammals, however, it is the

consultants opinion that the site is not a significant breeding or wintering ground for wildlife

A recent publication, A World in One Cubic Foot, by David Liittschwager, a photographer making a

visual and pictorial assessment of the ecology of different habitats, notes that while native prairies

are home to 300 species of plants, 60 mammals, 300 birds and hundreds of insects, a corn field is

denuded of life other than corn and a few flying insects. In modern corn fields the air and the

ground are generally vacant of biodiversity.

During the 3 years that the mine is proposed to operate the amount of plant, animal and insect

diversity is expected to diminish to less than what is found in the corn, however, once restoration

commences the proposer expects the sand prairie habitat to support hundreds of species. Any

remnant wildlife resources and habitats in the old pasture are highly degraded and will be altered

due to mining conversion that is expected to occur for a period of up to 3 years. The mined areas

will be restored back to a lower elevation with sand prairie land cover conditions. Temporary loss of

the cropland will not result in a substantial loss of biodiversity due to the existing lack of diversity in

row crop lands. There will be temporary impacts to wildlife during the construction and mining

phases. Any wildlife present within the agricultural cropland of the site will be displaced to the

surrounding cropland. Following restoration the proposer expects the area to have more diversity

and be a more welcoming area for biodiversity.

b. Are any state (endangered or threatened) species, rare plant communities or other sensitive

ecological resources on or near the site? Yes No

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If yes, describe the resource and how it would be affected by the project.

In order to assess biodiversity three maps were referenced including the Priority Areas of Native

Biodiversity in Southeastern Minnesota (2007), the Winona County Biological Survey and the

Minnesota Land Cover Database. A summary of our findings are provided below:

1) The Priority Areas of Native Biodiversity in Southeastern Minnesota (1997) and the

Winona County Biological Survey (1997) show no areas of significant native plants present

on the site.

2) The Priority Areas of Native Biodiversity in Southeastern Minnesota map shows the

woods on the adjoining property to the south outside of the project site as having scores

“below minimum biodiversity significance.”

3) The Minnesota Land Cover Databases are not available for Winona County and there is no

GIS coverage for vegetation.

4) Based on review of the 2010 aerial photography the current land cover consists of 15.8-

acres of crop land (82%) and 3.3-acres of pasture/grassland (18 %) (Figure 13). The

grassland cover is typical of many old pastures with a stable turf of grasses and forbs

dominated by brome and cool season grasses. The fence line includes pioneer species

and invasive shrub and tree (box elder, elm, cedar, buckthorn, honeysuckle) species.

In October 2012, the MNDNR Natural Heritage Information System (NHIS) database was queried

to determine if any state-listed endangered, threatened, special concern species, or rare plant

communities, or other sensitive ecological resources have been documented within one-mile of

the site. Based on their query, there are no known occurrences of rare features in the area

(Appendix 3).

Another measure to determine if sensitive ecological resources are present includes the use of the Minnesota Board of Soil and Water Resources (BWSR) Environmental Benefits Index (EBI). The EBI is a statewide ranking tool that helps to determine which lands are most valuable from a conservation perspective. The EBI considers soil erosion potential, water quality risk, and wildlife habitat quality by ranking each factor on a scale from 0-100. Combining each factor generates a score from 0-300 that is then used to help prioritize and conserve land with the best conservation potential. In general, lands ranked below a score of 200 using the EBI are considered to be of low to moderate conservation value. For the Nisbit sand ridge the mean values for the soil erosion risk, water quality risk, and wildlife habitat quality are 85, 41, and 19 respectively. Combining these three values produces a relatively low EBI value of 145. As a means of comparison, the applicant stated that the following areas have a range of environmental indices.

Nisbit sand ridge 19.1-acre mining site: EBI ranges from 112 to 170; soil erosion risk 26 to 94; wildlife habitat quality 17 to 24 and water quality risk 33 to 70.

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Section 35 of Saratoga Township: EBI ranges from 70 to 218; soil erosion risk 1 to 98; wildlife habitat quality 17 to 28 and water quality risk 23 to 98.

Saratoga Township: EBI ranges from 47 to 241; soil erosion risk 1 to 99; wildlife habitat quality 9 to 47 and water quality risk 23 to 99.

Winona County: EBI ranges from 42 to 279; soil erosion risk 0 to 100; wildlife habitat quality 2 to 89 and water quality risk 18 to 99.

A high EBI score indentifies the most valuable places from a conservation perspective. EBI is the

sum of three separate layers: soil erosion risk, water quality risk, and wildlife habitat quality. Each

layer is classified on a 0-100 scale so that when added together the EBI scale is 0-300.

A field assessment of the site was conducted in June 2012 by McGhie & Betts Environmental

Services, Inc. professionals familiar with native plant habitats and local ecological resources. The

inspection and assessment was performed to further assess the vegetative communities present.

No areas supporting sand prairies or native plant communities were discovered. The Nisbit Mine

is dominated by row crop agriculture and smooth brome grass pastures that are sparsely wooded.

Two distinct areas of vegetative communities are summarized below (Figure 5):

Grassland

The ridge top at an elevation of 1,220 feet is divided east and west by an old fence line.

East of the fence line is dominated by a turf of introduced cool season grasses,

principally smooth brome, that have not been managed for years. This area also

includes clusters of milkweed, goldenrod and other common forbs that are considered

weeds. West of the fence is a turf of pasture grasses and legumes that has been planted

and managed more recently. This area is also dominated by brome with fewer weeds.

On the steep slope from an elevation of 1,192 to 1,120 feet are cool season grasses

(brome) intermixed with trees and shrubs. The trees are volunteers of a mixture of box

elder, elm and aspen. The shrubs are buckthorn, sumac and honeysuckle.

Corn/Soybean Rotation

The toe of the slope below an elevation of 1,192 feet is row cropped with a rotation of

corn and soybeans.

We discovered no state-listed (endangered, threatened or special concern) species identified at

the time of the survey.

Describe any measures that will be taken to minimize or avoid adverse impacts. Provide the

license agreement number (LA-___________) and/or Division of Ecological Resources contact number (ERDB 20130115 Proposed Nisbit Mine) from which the data were obtained and attach the

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response letter from the DNR Division of Ecological Resources. Indicate if any additional survey work has been conducted within the site and describe the results.

12. Physical Impacts on Water Resources. Will the project involve the physical or hydrologic alteration

(dredging, filling, stream diversion, outfall structure, diking, and impoundment) of any surface waters such as a lake, pond, wetland, stream or drainage ditch? Yes No If yes, identify water resource affected and give the DNR Public Waters Inventory (PWI) number(s) if the water resources affected are on the PWI.

Describe alternatives considered and proposed mitigation measures to minimize impacts. The closest mapped drainage way to the Nisbit ridge is a drainage way type that is mapped and known as a ‘drainage end’ as identified in the Soil Survey of Winona County, Minnesota. This feature is located 240 feet to the northeast of the project location and flows from west to east extending for approximately 0.5 miles before terminating on the west side of CR113. According to the applicant drainage ends designate areas with small catchments and rapidly permeable soils where surface water rapidly infiltrates before gathering enough flow to become an intermittent stream. The next two closest drainage networks are mapped in the soil survey as intermittent streams located to the southwest and west approximately 1,040 feet and 1,400 feet respectively (Figure 14). Stormwater that does collect in the drainage way would flow across 3.5 miles of agricultural land, grassed waterways and drainage swales before emptying into a perennial stream, Pine Creek (Figure 14). Local observers and the applicant claim that these intermittent features only have flowing water when there is melt water on frozen ground or during very intense rainfall events exceeding rates of 1”/hour or during prolonged rains with total rainfall exceeding 2 inches. Pine Creek is designated as “protected water” and a designated trout stream by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is 3.5 miles downstream from the project site in Fillmore County. On-site erosion control measures will be installed and maintained to prevent any sediment from reaching adjacent water courses or drainage ways.

Since there are no wetlands, water courses or major drainage systems on the site and due to the

rapid permeability of the underlying soils and bedrock grading, mining, and site restoration will

not have any effect on surface water resources. Stream diversions, outfall structures, diking or

impounding of surface water and dewatering will not occur.

Analysis of nearby Minnesota Department of Health County Well Index (CWI) boring logs indicated the groundwater is mapped at an elevation of 1,030 feet (±5 feet), 140 feet below the final mine elevation of 1,170 feet based on the static water levels reported on well logs available from the Minnesota County Well Index (Figure 16). Additional water wells not entered in the CWI may exist in the mapped area but have not been identified by the proposer. Well data used for this assessment was obtained from the MDH CWI was obtained on October 11, 2012. Any information available after that date is not included in the assessment.

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Hydrologic alteration through dewatering for mining will not be necessary at the site.

There are no natural lakes streams and no manmade ponds or drainage ditches feeding to or

flowing from the site. The soils are rapidly permeable and recent studies completed on Wisconsin

Discovery Farms in similar terrain of the Driftless Area of Wisconsin show that on average only 8%

of precipitation runs off the loess and residuum soils. This indicates that the only source of runoff

will occur during spring melt and during intense rainfall events on saturated ground. In order to

avoid any unnecessary sinkhole risks permanent ponds will not be employed because ponds

create permanent soil saturation that can mobilize sand particles to flow into any voids in the

underlying Shakopee formation karst. Systems that allow pulses of infiltration in this landscape

setting rather than ponded water have proven to be effective in avoiding sinkhole formation.

At the conclusion of the planned mine the operation will have removed 45-50 feet of course to fine grained St. Peter sand from the crest of the Nisbit ridge. Due to the sands’ effective filtering properties and rapid infiltration the public has raised concerns about the potential impact on the underlying groundwater from the loss of approximately 40-45 feet of very fine grained sand. According to the applicant the removal of the sand is inconsequential based on the following factors:

The groundwater table is at 1,030 feet (± 5 feet), 140 to 203 feet beneath the Nisbit ridge

Infiltration through a very fine filter medium like the St. Peter sand exerts its effectiveness in the top few feet of the sand where virtually all of the fine particles, including minute organisms become trapped in the small-scale honeycombed pore spaces. Forty to 45 feet of undisturbed St. Peter sandstone will remain as a filter after mining.

The highly porous sand does not treat or otherwise remove dissolved compounds, but the thickness of the sand does have a measurable effect on the amount of time that it takes for water to infiltrate down to the water table.

According to the applicant, the groundwater levels, derived from a review of all of the surrounding drilling logs available from the CWI shows the static water table is at an elevation of approximately 1,030 feet. Data from the Winona County Geologic Atlas and water quality data from the Minnesota Department of Health shows that the groundwater in this area is highly susceptible to groundwater contamination due to rapid infiltration especially from septic systems, leaks, spills and from agricultural nutrients and pesticides. According to the Geologic Atlas surface infiltration surrounding the Nisbit ridge reaches the water table in days to weeks, largely due to the water table depth. Factors that influence water infiltration in this setting depend on three factors:

First, whether the Prairie du Chein karst is exposed which allows direct injection of both suspended solids and dissolved compounds

Second, whether the karst aquifer is covered by thick soils or porous media, like the highly permeable St. Peter sand that effectively filters suspended solids but does not retard or mitigate for dissolved compounds

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Third, whether the karst aquifer is covered by impervious materials that shed water down gradient to areas where the porous or cavernous bedrock aquifers are exposed

The St Peter sand at the Nisbit ridge and throughout Saratoga Township consists of a course clastic component in the upper half (40-50 feet) and a very fine clastic component in the lower half (40-45’). According to the Minnesota Geological Survey (MGS) publication RI-61 Hydrology of the Paleozoic Bedrock of SE Minnesota the St. Peter sand is hom*ogeneous and friable with a high porosity and a moderate to high permeability. The MGS analysis of multiple pumping tests shows the St. Peter to have hydraulic conductivity of 15.9 ft/day in shallow bedrock conditions and 38.7 ft/day in deep bedrock conditions, largely due to the hom*ogenous intergranular porosity. According to the applicants Geologist, Jeff Broberg fracture porosity creating conduits for more rapid flow in the St. Peter sandstone are a feature that has been regionally identified. This occurs in the basal 20 to 25 feet of the St. Peter in drainage way settings but rarely manifest in the upper half of the formation and have never been observed on the headlands or shoulder of the Saratoga or Rochester area sand ridges. The bedrock underlying the St. Peter is the Prairie Du Chein Group Shakopee formation, a karst dolomitic limestone that is the bedrock host to the underlying aquifer. The top of the Shakopee, estimated by the applicant from nearby well logs is at approximately 1,130 feet (± 5 feet) is an unconformable surface that varies ± 20 feet in drainage way settings and is evident as a wavy, deeply corroded, karst surface with variable paleo-erosion and sedimentation features. This surface has variable relief that is highly accentuated in any drainage ways where water concentrates on the landscape. These features have occurred since the end of the last geological age and have continued to corrode the underlying carbonate bedrock. According the MGS publication RI 61 the hydraulic conductivity in the Prairie du Chein, derived from multiple tests, averages 60.8 ft/day in the shallow bedrock and 33.5 ft/day in the deep bedrock with a significant range from 2.2 ft/day to 1,023 ft/day in some individual wells. The MGS hydraulic conductivity data shows that fractured karst zones in the Prairie du Chein display conduit flow with little or no intergranular filtration differing dramatically from the clastic St. Peter dominated by intergranular porosity in very fine sand. The applicant states that the pre-mine conditions of the 19.1-acre Nisbit ridge has a cap rock of Platteville limestone and Glenwood shale measuring 10 to 14 feet thick at the crest and thinning to zero along the eroded cap of the ridge. Precipitation rapidly runs off the highly fractured limestone cap or infiltrates into the frost fractured limestone residuum rapidly reaching the impervious Glenwood shale. The water runoff from the Glenwood infiltrates into the underlying sandstone without every gathering sufficient volume to create distinct drainage ways. According to the proposed plans the mining will remove and reserve the soil, vegetation and the limestone/shale cap, segregating the soils from the rock and reserving these materials for roadways, berms, site stabilization and restoration. The 90 foot thick St. Peter sandstone that overlies the Prairie du Chein karst will then be exposed, similar to adjoining areas where the sand is currently exposed in the croplands and pastures on the headlands of the Saratoga sand ridges. The applicant has stated as mining progresses the ability of surface water to infiltrate into the groundwater will change in three distinct ways:

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The area before mining will have a thin soil, variable subsoil, about 15 feet of Platteville Limestone, 3 feet of Glenwood Shale under approximately 7-acres or 90 feet of St. Peter and 100 feet of Shakopee above the water table. The applicant estimates from the average hydraulic conductivity published in MGS publication RI 61 precipitation at the surface requires 5 to 7 days to infiltrate to the groundwater once water contacts the St Peter (the thin soils and cap rock drain rapidly and are retarded by the small area covered by Glenwood strata for a matter of one or two days).

During mining the 3 to 5 acre active mining areas will be devoid of vegetation or any biologic veneer in the soil or bedrock. The applicant estimates that infiltration to the groundwater could occur from the surface through the underlying sandstone and dolomite in a matter of 2 to 3 days. The temporarily restored areas will have a thin veneer of vegetated soil where the applicant estimates infiltration to the groundwater will take 2.5 to 3.5 days.

The restored areas will have a thick layer (± 8 feet of compacted limestone/shale rubble) covered by restored subsoil and topsoil covering the undisturbed 40-45 feet of sandstone over 100 feet of Shakopee. The applicant estimates that the infiltration in the restored area will take 12 to 16 days to reach the groundwater due to the cap rock materials being mixed, spread and compacted over the entire footprint of the mine.

The phased mining and progressive restoration will temporarily transform the ridge to a broader zone of rapid infiltration after removing the cap rock and vegetation. On the working face and operational areas of the mine the raw sand will be exposed and will have no bio-matt or other vegetation. On the areas that are progressively restored to temporary vegetation a veneer of soils will be replaced and seeded for vegetation. The progressive restoration reduces the footprint of the exposed sand that has no biologic element to the rapid infiltration. In the final restoration the ridge will have a 19.1-acre cap of materials that have a lower hydraulic conductivity. The applicant sates that by ultimately reducing infiltration rates and restoring the entire 19.1-acres to grasslands, which require no ag-inputs, the restored mine will reduce the risk of groundwater contamination compared to the current conditions or the surrounding cropland. The mining is proposed to extend to a depth of 1,170 feet harvesting the top 45-50 feet of sand and restoring soil over the top of the reserved limestone/clay cap rock that will be restored over the top of the un-mined sandstone. Forty to 45 feet of undisturbed sand will be left in place beneath the restored overburden and according to the proposer will effectively restore the infiltration pattern that existed prior to mining. The restored mine will leave an impermeable or semi-permeable rock that is covered by thin soil overlying 40-45 feet of undisturbed very fine grained sand. This will reside over the Prairie du Chein that is present in the subsurface beneath the entire region. The applicant claims mining will not expose any direct opening or conduits to the underlying karst and states the filter capacity of the remaining undisturbed sandstone will continue to be effective for solid particles, but will continue to allow dissolved compounds to ultimately infiltrate into the Prairie du Chein groundwater. The proposer does not expect any negative effect on nearby water wells. The wells are not at risk for excessive water use and there should be no negative changes in static water levels. Water used on the site will come from existing public water supplies and will be hauled in tankers. Infiltration rates will temporarily increase making leak and spill prevention, preparedness and response a high priority for all on site operations. Finally the restoration will create a grassland habitat without need for fertilizer and pesticides that will slow the infiltration.

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The proposer indicates that well monitoring in close proximity to the mine would not accurately

differentiate water quality impacts from mining versus farming, largely due to the massive scale

of row crop agriculture relative to the small scale/short duration of the mine. The application

proposes to conduct a pre-mining water test (nitrates and bacteria) of the Nisbit well and a post

mining nitrate and bacteria test for the Nisbit well. Impacts that are proven to occur from mining,

as opposed to farming or any additional action not related to the mine, will be mitigated by the

mine operator.

Mine excavation, grading and construction activities during reclamation will be completed in

accordance with the Winona County Zoning Ordinance Section 9.10.4 Reclamation Standards and

in accordance with all other applicable County, State or Federal laws and regulations.

Prior to commencing the mine new erosion control best management practices (BMPs) will be installed to protect surface water. The proposer will construct a berm/rim-ditch around the perimeter of the mining site that is then surrounded by silt fencing. Stormwater runoff generated at the site will be contained within the mining limits (Figure 6 and 7). Other forms of BMPs such as grassed swales and/or diversion berms will be used as necessary.

Existing slopes on the site approach 30%. The mining plan will utilize backhoes to develop a near vertical working face for the sand extraction. The working face will migrate in accordance with the phasing plan. During mining the slopes will be near vertical cuts up to 24 feet tall. The high wall mining will continue throughout the process. All steep slopes will be restored to a required 3:1 slopes using the reserved overburden. The restored end slope abutting the Boyum’s on the east will have the appearance of an isolated, short and nearly symmetrical ridge with gently sloping grasslands on the west and grasslands and cropland to the east. Stockpiles will have a slope equivalent to the angle of repose of the sand, approximately 2:1 depending on the mix of materials and the moisture content. All reclaimed areas, other than the exposed sandstone face, will be covered with topsoil to a level

consistent with the current site and surrounding area (spread salvaged topsoil). Final seeding will

be applied at a rate of 75#/acre consisting of a MNDOT sandy-roadside seed mix suitable for

restoring a grassland. The quality of the topsoil placed shall be analyzed to determine if and how

much fertilizer may be needed to establish new turf on the sandy restored soils. Once grass has

had an opportunity to become established, which may take more than one growing season, the

reclaimed area will be left to nature.

Once mining is complete and restored and the CUP is complete the owner will manage the land.

If the landowner wishes to restore the area to crop or pasture they must contact the Winona

County NRCS/SWCD office for assistance on the proper procedures for returning the site to row

crop production. Factors to be addressed for returning the reclamation area to row crop

production are soil depth, topsoil depth and color, organic content of soils, nutrient content of

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soil and drainage upstream, within and downstream of reclamation area. The current landowner

and mine operator are not proposing to restore the area to cropland.

Silt fencing and/or vegetated berms will remain in place until vegetation establishes and areas

disturbed by removal of the fence/berm will be reseeded.

13. Water Use. Will the project involve installation or abandonment of any water wells, connection to or

changes in any public water supply or appropriation of any ground or surface water (including dewatering)? Yes No If yes, as applicable, give location and purpose of any new wells; public supply affected, changes to be made, and water quantities to be used; the source, duration, quantity and purpose of any appropriations; and unique well numbers and DNR appropriation permit numbers, if known. Identify any existing and new wells on the site map. If there are no wells known on site, explain methodology used to determine. There is no surface water on the site and local well logs show the water table is approximately 200

feet below the ground surface (Appendix 4). No water wells will be used for the mine and no

mining will take place within 140 feet of the water table.

Water used for dust control will be hauled in tanker trucks after having been purchased from an

existing permitted public water supply.

Groundwater monitoring wells are not being proposed due to the following factors:

The project will not be drilling new wells or using water for processing or washing.

The mining operation is not using or applying hazardous materials. The primary risk to the

groundwater is via leaks and spills from diesel and gas fueling, motor oil, and to a lesser

degree hydraulic fluid.

The mining will be down to the 1,170 foot elevation, approximately 140+ feet above the

water table. Over 45 feet of St. Peter Sandstone will remain beneath the site.

14. Water-related land use management districts. Does any part of the project involve a shoreland zoning district, a delineated 100-year flood plain, or a state or federally designated wild or scenic river land use district? Yes No If yes, identify the district and discuss project compatibility with district land use restrictions. The Federal Emergency Management Agency Map Service shows that the Nisbit Mine is located

outside of the 100 year and 500 year floodplain. This is confirmed by the FEMA FIRM Map

Community Number 270525 Panel Number 0150 C.

There are no shoreland zoning districts, delineated 100 year or 500 year floodplains or state or

federally designated wild or scenic river land use districts.

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15. Water Surface Use. Will the project change the number or type of watercraft on any water body?

Yes No If yes, indicate the current and projected watercraft usage and discuss any potential overcrowding or conflicts with other uses. Not Applicable.

16. Erosion and Sedimentation. Give the acreage to be graded or excavated and the cubic yards of soil to be moved: 19.1 Mine

2.4 Access Road Acres Acres

700,000 5,000

Cubic yards Cubic yards

Describe any steep slopes or highly erodible soils and identify them on the site map. Describe any erosion and sedimentation control measures to be used during and after project construction.

The soils covering the site are thin and are derived from loess and weathered sandstone bedrock.

The soils are rapidly permeable with low water bearing capacity and are prone to drought. The

soils information including soil types, capability class and prime farmland data was obtained from

the United States Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service, “Web Soil

Survey” (Appendix 5).

Within the mining area the soils that will be stripped, stockpiled and re-used for reclamation are:

11D, Sogn silt loam, rocky, 6 to 30% slopes, capability class 7 (not prime farmland) are

located at the top of the ridge within the pasture land.

898F, Bellechester-Brodale complex, rocky, 15 to 60% slopes, capability class 7 (not prime

farmland). These soils are found on the backslope of the hillside are located within

pasture land.

301D, Lindstrom silt loam, 12 to 18% slopes, capability class 4 (not prime farmland) are

located on cropland.

The ridge proposed for mining is not currently farmed above an elevation of 1,190 feet due to the

slope, shallow bedrock and droughty nature of the soils. The current plan will mine the ridge

from west to east in phases and will restore the mined area with reserved topsoil and re-vegetate

with a mixture of pasture grasses, legumes and trees. The existing soils are conducive to rapid

infiltration meaning there is minimal runoff under normal conditions.

All of the silt loam soils are susceptible to wind and water erosion if exposed without protections.

The topsoil will be removed from the areas to be mined in stages and retained in berms and

stockpiles or will be used for site reclamation. Mining will create additional exposures of

sandstone faces and will create temporary steep slopes at the active face. The location of the

active face and associated steep slopes will move as mining progresses through the site.

Measures to control erosion and sedimentation will be implemented at the site.

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Erosion and Sediment Control

The stormwater management plan developed in accordance with Minnesota Pollution Control

Agency criteria contains the stormwater runoff within the mine. Ponding and infiltration areas in

a ring berm and ring ditch stormwater treatment system are designed to provide infiltration,

settling and sediment control and to contain runoff so as not to increase the stormwater runoff

during a 100-year storm event. Runoff will be prohibited from leaving the site by sloping the

excavated areas toward the mine and directing the water into the treatment system. The berm

and ditch will be seeded and vegetated with perennial grasses and forbs using a MnDOT Mix #190

prescribed for 2-5 year stabilization (Appendix 2). The holding ponds will be removed during the

restoration after all extraction is complete.

The site will operate under a Minnesota Pollution Control Agency Permit (MPCA) Non Metallic Mining Operations General Permit. This permit is in the process of being developed pending final approval of the Conditional Use Permit that will define the size and operation of the facility. Once finalized a copy of the Permit and SWPPP will be submitted to Winona County for their records.

Perimeter silt fencing and a rim-ditch/berm will be maintained throughout the mining operation. Topsoil stockpiles will be constructed with a 3:1 (horizontal to vertical) side slope and a flat top of not less than 8 feet. Silt fencing will be placed downhill of stockpiles and piles will be seeded to establish vegetation. As silica sand is excavated it will be loaded into a portable jaw crusher, screen and elevator producing two stockpiles. One stockpile will contain waste material of larger stones and cemented bedrock that did not disaggregate in the crusher. This reject material will be reserved for reclamation and the course to fine sand will be placed in the finished stockpile of marketable product (silica sand). The crushing/sorting/elevator equipment will have large hoppers and will be shielded to minimize dust and noise and whenever practicable will be placed behind the rim ditch and stockpiles to minimize exposure to the prevailing southwest/northwest winds as a means of minimizing dust. A loader will transfer the silica sand to trucks for hauling. Waste stockpiles will be protected with silt fencing and temporarily seeded. A tracking control pad will be maintained at all exits from the project. Haul roads will be treated and watered or treated to control dust.

Topsoil Management

The soils on the site are thin, rocky and sandy on the north and thicker loess and sand on the

south. The soils in Phase 1 will be stripped with dozers/scrapers and used to develop the

permanent berm and stockpile areas where materials will be stored until the restoration begins.

The thin organic rich topsoil will be segregated and stockpiled for future use and the brown

subsoil, flaggy limestone and shale cap rock and other non-organic soils will be used for the core

of the berms and base of the restoration profile. Topsoil will be spread across the restored and

graded areas and will be the seedbed for vegetation establishment.

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The proposer states that the exact volume of topsoil available for restoration is estimated from

soil borings and test pits to be 40 to 60 acre feet. All the topsoil will be retained on the site for

restoration.

Chapter 9.15 of the Winona County Zoning Ordinance outlines the requirements for Soil Erosion

and Sediment Control for mining operations. To ensure soil erosion is minimized the applicant

will develop a conservation plan with the Winona County Soil and Water Conservation District

which will adopt “Best Management Practices.”

17. Water Quality – Surface-water Runoff. a. Compare the quantity and quality of site runoff before and after the project. Describe permanent

controls to manage or treat runoff. Describe any storm-water pollution prevention plans. Existing soil conditions consist of the Sogn and Lindstrom silt loams and the Bellechester-Brodale

complex which are classified as well-drained to excessively well-drained. These soils rapidly

infiltrate water, leaving little to no standing water at the surface. According to the Winona

County Soil Survey these soils have properties that allow water to transmit through the most

limiting layer in the soil profile at rates up to 1.98 in/hr. In isolated areas, the Bellechester-

Brodale complex found on the backslope of the hillside is considered excessively drained with

capacity to transmit water through the most limiting layer at rates of 5.95 in/hr to 19.98 in/hr.

Similar to the discussion on the effect of infiltration in Section 12 the before, during and after effects on stormwater has been estimated by the applicant. The applicant has stated as mining progresses the ability of surface water to infiltrate into the groundwater will change in three distinct ways:

Before mining the top of the ridge above elevation of approximately 1,220 feet will have a thin soil, a variable thickness of subsoil and about 10 to 12 feet of heavily fractured Platteville Limestone that is rapidly permeable and soaks up most precipitation before it can runoff the crest of the ridge. The underlying 3 feet of Glenwood Shale retards the downward stormwater flow until the water reaches the exposed edge in the headland of the ridge which focuses stormwater flow into the highly permeable sandstone below. The area below the Glenwood has rapid and almost complete infiltration into the ground except under frozen ground or saturated soil conditions when runoff may occur.

During mining the 3 to 5 acre active mining areas will be devoid of vegetation or any biologic veneer in the soil or bedrock and will infiltrate all stormwater, except during excessive rainfall events of more than 2”-3” rain per hour. The applicant estimates that any runoff from the mined area will be captured in the surrounding rim-ditch/berm. The temporarily restored area will have a thin veneer of vegetated soil where the applicant estimates runoff may occur with rainfall events exceeding ½ inch/hour. Runoff water will be captured in the rim-ditch/berm.

The restored areas will have a thick (± 8 feet of compacted limestone/shale rubble) that is largely impervious to stormwater that will be covered by moderately permeable sandy subsoil and sandy topsoil covering the undisturbed 40-45 feet of sandstone. The applicant estimates that the final restoration will have runoff with frozen grounds or

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saturated soils when rainfall exceed ½ inch/hour, however, the vegetation will absorb runoff and the gentle finished slopes will reduce water erosion and resist wind erosion.

The mine operation requires an Industrial Stormwater Permit for Non-metallic Mining Actives and as required by Winona County Performance Standards to protect surface water and groundwater quality. The Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan (SWPPP) and Water Management Plan will be developed once the final criteria of the mine are defined by the County Conditional Use Process. The SWPPP will address site operations and installations necessary for the control of erosion from wind and runoff, vehicle and equipment tracking and all aspects of the transport, storage, use and disposal of all waste including hazardous materials (fuels, hydraulic fluids and lubricants) The SWPPP will include:

Provisions for training, preparedness and response to any leaks and spills.

Grading, construction and erosion control measures including the proposed rim ditch/berm around the entire perimeter to prevent stormwater from entering the mine and to assure that all mine drainage goes into the lineal infiltration rim-ditch/berm.

o During mining BMP’s such as rim-ditches/berms and silt fencing will be designed, installed and maintained to collect and treat runoff from the disturbed areas during rainfall events. All runoff from the site is to be routed to the rim-ditch/berm through the construction of berms and swales. The rim-ditch will act as a long narrow infiltration and stormwater treatment swale. Periodically the rim-ditch/berm may collect fine sediment that will be excavated and used for reclamation efforts.

Specific provisions will be identified for the immediate response to any leaks or spills including reporting, containment and immediate excavation of all contaminated sand or soils for proper disposal, including the immediate evolution and abatement of any risks by qualified consultants and contractors.

Waste handling including pumpable porta-potties for workers and contracted solid waste collection and disposal, collection and recycling or proper disposal of all equipment related lubricants and fluids will also be included.

Upon reclamation, the slope of the land will be less than existing conditions which will reduce the

runoff velocity which will increase the quantity of rainfall that infiltrates. Since the entire site will

be reclaimed, there will not be any increase in impervious surfaces so no permanent treatment

controls are required.

b. Identify routes and receiving water bodies for runoff from the site; include major downstream water bodies as well as the immediate receiving waters. Estimate impact runoff on the quality of receiving waters.

The mine is currently located in the upland portion of the Pine Creek sub-watershed and is surrounded by intensively cropped agricultural land that is rapidly permeable and does not require drain tile. The closest mapped drainage way is an intermittent stream type known as a ‘drainage end’ as identified in the Soil Survey of Winona County, Minnesota. This feature is located 240 feet to the northeast of the project location and extends for approximately 0.5 miles east before terminating west of CR113. The next two closest drainage networks are intermittent streams located to the southwest and west approximately 1,040 feet and 1,400 feet respectively (Figure 14).

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Due to the site’s rapid soil infiltrating capacity (described above) and the distance to receiving

waters the impact of stormwater runoff and infiltration from the site will be negligible. Any

runoff that is produced on-site will be protected by erosion control measures described in Item

#12.

18. Water Quality – Wastewater. a. Describe sources, composition and quantities of all sanitary, municipal and industrial wastewater

produced or treated at the site. On-site sanitary, municipal and industrial wastewater will not be produced at the Nisbit Mine.

Lavatory facilities, including a portable toilet (port-a-potty) will be provided for employees that

will be contracted to a Minnesota licensed septic service provider and maintained on a regular

basis.

Final processing of silica sand will occur at an off-site location that is permitted separately,

therefore there will be no industrial wastewater generation from the sand mining and processing.

b. Describe waste treatment methods or pollution prevention efforts and give estimates of

composition after treatment. Identify receiving waters, including major downstream water bodies (identifying any impaired waters), and estimate the discharge impact on the quality of receiving waters. If the project involves on-site sewage systems, discuss the suitability of site conditions for such systems.

No waste treatment methods or discharges to receiving waters will be generated. The site will have

a portable toilet for employee use that will be maintained by a Minnesota licensed septic service

provider.

c. If wastes will be discharged into a publicly owned treatment facility, identify the facility, describe

any pretreatment provisions and discuss the facility’s ability to handle the volume and composition of wastes, identifying any improvements necessary.

No wastes will be discharged into a publicly owned treatment facility.

19. Geologic hazards and soil conditions. a. Approximate depth (in feet) to ground water: Existing static groundwater levels are at 1030, ±5 feet, based on the applicant’s evaluation of local well logs. This places the groundwater 200 ft. beneath the top of the ridge prior to mining and 140 feet below the toe of the mined slope. Final conditions: The base of the mine exaction will be 1170 with groundwater a 140 feet beneath the mined surface.

to bedrock: Bedrock is between 0-10 ft from the surface prior to mining and is proposed to be approximately 0-10 feet after mining reclamation.

Describe any of the following geologic site hazards to ground water and also identify them on the

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site map: sinkholes, shallow limestone formations or karst conditions. Describe measures to avoid or minimize environmental problems due to any of these hazards.

As previously described in earlier sections the Nisbit ridge has a thin cap rock of Platteville

Limestone and Glenwood shale above an elevation of 1,220 feet with 90 feet of St. Peter sandstone

overlying the unconformable contact with the underlying Shakopee Limestone. Based on nearby

water well data from the County Well Index the top of the Shakopee Formation is at an elevation of

± 1,125 feet, 45 feet below the proposed depth of silica sand mining (Figure 17).

The St. Peter Sandstone is not a karst horizon subject to sinkholes formed by dissolution of the

sandstone bedrock and there are no sinkholes on the site or on adjoining property. However, the St.

Peter Formation does overlay carbonate dolomite bedrock of the Shakopee Formation which is

known to dissolve and develop karst features causing solution enlarged cavities and rare sinkholes in

the bottom 20-30 feet of the St. Peter Sandstone formation when sand flows downward into

solution enlarged cavities in the underlying dolomite.

In SE Minnesota the basal St. Peter sinkholes form in drainage way settings and beneath ponds.

The sinkhole formation process involves frequent saturation or permanent flooding of the St. Peter

Sandstone surface with water that percolates downward and dissolves the underlying Shakopee

Dolomite. The voids left from persistent dissolution of dolomitic rock allow the overlying sand at the

base of the 90 foot thick St. Peter Sandstone to flow into the cavities collapsing sand into the

underlying voids and causing sinkholes at the surface.

Geologic investigations completed by McGhie & Betts professional geologist Jeff Broberg in SE

Minnesota have shown that the upper 70 feet of the St. Peter Sandstone is not prone to sinkhole

formation. The proposer indicates that based on the mining site’s stratigraphy, sand thickness,

distance to the underlying dissolving karst, and the lack of water features that would saturate or

flood the subsurface the risk of sinkhole formation is low.

In the event a sinkhole forms within the Nisbit mine standard Best management Practices including

diverting runoff away from the opening and establishing a vegetative buffer (minimum of 30 feet for

areas with 5% slopes) around the opening will help prevent groundwater pollution. Under some

circ*mstances an earthen dike may be required to be constructed around the sinkhole to prevent

surface water from entering.

The exposed bedrock geology of the site is of Middle Ordovician age where the Platteville and

Glenwood Formations are the first encountered bedrock and underlain by St. Peter Sandstone that

will be mined for silica sand (Figure 17). The Winona County Soil Survey indicates bedrock is shallow

and is found < 12 feet below the ground surface (Figure 18). The St. Peter Sandstone ranges from 90

to 100 feet thick. The St. Peter Sandstone is a fine grained to medium grained, very well sorted,

poorly cemented quartz sandstone with round grains making the sand desirable for silica sand.

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There are no mapped or observed karst features, sinkholes or caves known to exist on the site or in

a similar sand ridge setting in the vicinity of the site. The closest sinkholes to the west are Platteville

Limestone. The Platteville exists on the Nisbit ridge but will be removed as overburden. The

sinkhole probability as defined by the Minnesota Geological Survey County Geological Atlas shows

the Nisbit Mine is within an area above an approximate elevation of 1,145 feet where the site is

classified as “low to moderate probability” for karst features. In the vicinity, land areas below an

approximate elevation of 1,115 feet the site is classified as moderate to high reflecting the risk in

the basal 20-30 feet of the sandstone (Figure 19). The low to moderate classification means only

widely scattered individual sinkholes or isolated cluster of 2 to 3 sinkholes occur where the average

sinkhole density is less than one sinkhole per square mile. The moderate to high classification

means diffuse clusters of three or more sinkholes occur with an average sinkhole density of one per

square mile.

According to McGhie & Betts professional geologist Jeff Broberg the upper 70 feet of the St. Peter

Sandstone is not prone to sinkhole formation. However, the bottom 20 feet is more prone to

sinkholes, especially in natural drainage ways or in areas excavated to create ponds, lagoons or

other man-made drainage or water storage features. The 40 to 50 ft. of St. Peter Sandstone

proposed to remain between the bottom of the mine and above the Shakopee karst along with the

lack of natural drainage ways or excavated water storage features such as ponds, lagoons or

permanent waterways will minimize chances of sinkhole formation.

Sinkhole formation can be most easily avoided by preventing the concentration of water in ponds. If

sinkholes do occur they can be easily mitigated by bridging or filling the collapse features in

accordance with Best Management Practices that are widely accepted in the areas where sinkholes

do occur.

Static water levels in the immediate vicinity have been recorded from County Well Index data at an

elevation of approximately 1,030 feet in a valley west of the site, at least 140 feet below the

proposed base of the mining excavation.

Environmental problems concerning groundwater contamination from karst susceptibility or shallow

bedrock conditions will be minimized by avoiding the use of hazardous materials during the mining

activities. Operations will also prevent farmland runoff from entering the mining site where rapid

infiltration will occur. Mining operators will be trained to inspect stormwater features to detect the

early warning signs of sinkhole development. In the event a sinkhole does form a Professional

Geologist will be consulted to properly mitigate the sinkhole in a manner that will promote

protection of groundwater resources.

b. Describe the soils on the site, giving Natural Resources Conservation Service classifications, if

known. Discuss soil texture and potential for ground-water contamination from wastes or chemicals spread or spilled onto the soils. Discuss any mitigation measures to prevent such contamination.

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The NRCS online Web Soil Survey maps eight different soil types on the site (Figure 20). The site

belongs to the Mt. Carroll-Port Byron-Lindstrom Associations. The Mt. Carroll-Port Byron-Lindstrom

Association is defined as very deep, nearly level to steep, well-drained and moderately well drained

soils derived from loess located on uplands. The table below provides an index of the soils identified

on the property and denotes if the soils are highly erodible, hydric or floodplain soils, the Crop

Productivity Rating (CPI) for each soil, and the slopes on which they are found (Figure 20).

Table 1: Soils Characteristics

Soil # Soil Name Slope % Hydric Floodplain CPI HEL

11D Sogn silt loam 1-6 N N 6 HEL

301A Lindstrom silt loam 1-3 N N 99 NHEL

301C Lindstrom silt loam 6-12 N N 92 PHEL

301D Lindstrom silt loam 12-20 N N 73 HEL

476C Frankville silt loam 6-12 N N 55 HEL

476D Frankville silt loam 12-18 N N 43 HEL

832F Lacrescent-Rock outcrop complex

30-45 N N 3 HEL

898F Bellechester-Broadale complex, rocky

15-60 N N 3 HEL

HEL – Highly Erodible Land; NHEL – Not Highly Erodible Land; PHEL – Potentially Highly Erodible Land; Hydric – Yes=listed on the Hydric Soils In Winona County, Minnesota, 1994, No=Not Listed; CER – Crop Productivity Rating; Slope – in percent

According to the Winona County Web Soil Survey these soils have properties that allow water to

transmit to the most limiting layer in the soil profile at rates of 0 in/hr to 0.41 in/hr on the lower end

to 0.57 in/hr to 1.98 in/hr on the higher end. In isolated areas across the Nisbit Mine the

Lacrescent-Rock soils have the capacity to transmit water at rates of 0.57 in/hr to 1.98 in/hr. The

existing soil conditions are considered by the Winona Soil Survey to be excessively drained with

infiltration rates of 5.95 to 19.98 inches per hour (11.9 to 40 feet per day). The St. Peter sandstone

is also excessively drained with hydraulic conductivity rates of over 19 feet/day according to data

published in MGS publication RI-61. Excessive drainage would allow any pollutants to infiltrate

rapidly in to the subsurface; however, the great depth to groundwater (140-200 feet) adds a

measure of protection and points to the importance of leak and spill prevention and the necessity to

rapidly recover leaks and spills. Potential groundwater contaminant is high in Saratoga Township

due to rapid infiltration. However, as stated before farm chemicals, fertilizers and hazardous

materials will not be used, so the threat to groundwater contamination is low.

Excavation will require the use of heavy equipment and truck hauling along with the use of fuels,

lubricants and hydraulic fluids. Mobile transport venders will be used to replenish and maintain

heavy equipment and trucks.

In the event that a spill does occur, mitigation measures including spill containment and emergency

preparedness materials such as absorbent materials and pads will be kept on-site during

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construction and mining operations. Additionally contaminated soils will be immediately excavated

and containerized for proper disposal.

20. Solid Wastes, Hazardous Wastes, Storage Tanks. a. Describe types, amounts and compositions of solid or hazardous wastes, including solid animal

manure, sludge and ash, produced during construction and operation. Identify method and location of disposal. For projects generating municipal solid waste, indicate if there is a source separation plan; describe how the project will be modified for recycling. If hazardous waste is generated, indicate if there is a hazardous waste minimization plan and routine hazardous waste reduction assessments.

Mine operations will utilize construction equipment and trucks that run on diesel fuels, use hydraulic fluids and petroleum-based lubricants. There will be no on-site storage of these materials except in the tanks and reservoirs on the equipment. All waste generated from equipment operations and maintenance such as waste oil, grease tubes, etc. will be collected and properly disposed or recycled. All solid waste generated by mine employees will be collected and waste disposal services will be contracted to a licensed hauler who disposes of the wastes at approved landfills or waste management facilities.

b. Identify any toxic or hazardous materials to be used or present at the site and identify measures to be used to prevent them from contaminating ground water. If the use of toxic or hazardous materials will lead to a regulated waste, discharge or emission, discuss any alternatives considered to minimize or eliminate the waste, discharge or emission.

Measures will be taken to prevent and control the release of any toxic materials and to prevent surface or ground water contamination. A SWPPP, as described earlier, will assure and document that all employees are properly trained and equipped to prevent leaks and spills and to immediately respond to any accidental releases. Releases will be immediately contained and contaminated soils will be excavated and placed on plastic or other impervious materials and covered with plastic pending proper disposal as required by the MPCA. Equipment maintenance and repair will collect and properly recycle or dispose of any waste fuels, lubricants or hydraulic fluids off-site. Waste sand is not considered a hazardous material subject to special rules or regulations for disposal, however, erosion control to prevent dust and runoff are planned. Areas of disturbed soils and waste overburden and sand will be stabilized and re-vegetated. A review of MPCA and Department of Agriculture records on leaks and spills “What’s in My Neighborhood” show that currently there are no known or suspected hazardous waste sites, leaks, spills or other releases within 5 miles of the site. See:

http://pca.state.mn.us/index.php?data/wimn-whats-in-my-neighborhood/whats-in-my

neighborhood.htm.

and

http://www.mda.state.mn.us/chemicals/spills/incidentresponse/disclaimer.aspx

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c. Indicate the number, location, size and use of any above or below ground tanks to store petroleum products or other materials, except water. Describe any emergency response containment plans.

The project will not involve the installation of any above or below ground tanks to store

petroleum products or other materials.

21. Traffic. Parking spaces added: 4 Existing spaces (if project involves expansion): 0

Estimated total average daily traffic generated: 240 Truck Trips (120 in and 120 out) 6 cars (3 in and 3 out)

Estimated maximum peak hour traffic generated and time of occurrence: 29 (13 in and 13 out) (3 in or out)

The mining activities propose to generate a total maximum of 280 truck trips per day (140 empty trucks in and 140 loaded trucks out). The trucks will have a one-hour round-trip per truck from the Nisbit mine to the Winona load-out. There will also be 6 employee trips per day (3 in and 3 out). This equates to 26 truck trips and 6 employee trips during the weekday peak hours (7:00 - 9:00 a.m. and 4:00 - 6:00 p.m.) for a total of 26 trips in and out. However, plans to generate the total maximum truck trips of 280 per day may occur if market demand increases, otherwise mining activities are planned to operate with 10 trucks per day generating a total of 120 trips per day. Truck traffic is proposed to travel along CR 113 and CSAH 33, US Highway 14 and Goodview Road in Winona (Figure 8).

The traffic impact analysis submitted with these figures was conducted by the proposer early in the

planning stages of this project and therefore does not represent the cumulative traffic from

projected mining activity in the same geographic area. The estimates of traffic volume indicated in

the EAW worksheet represent the most current information from the project proposer.

A Traffic Impact Study for impact to County Roads was prepared for this development by Wenck

Associates, Inc., a Professional Engineer registered in Minnesota to perform traffic impact studies

(Appendix 1). The purpose of the study was to determine if the proposed development will

significantly impact the adjacent transportation system and to recommend mitigation measures.

The scope of this traffic study was developed in coordination with the Winona County Engineer. The

following intersections were analyzed for capacity and sight distance:

CR 113/proposed access location

CSAH 33/CR 113

CSAH 33/CSAH 6

CSAH 33/CSAH 14

TH 14/CSAH 33

All of the study intersections are forecasted to operate acceptably at Level of Service (LOS) B or

better (where, LOS B represents stable flow with a high degree of freedom and LOS A represents

light traffic flow or free flow conditions) with additional Nisbit Mine truck traffic. The “Traffic Impact

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Analysis for Nisbit Sand Mine” prepared by Wenck Associates, Inc. concluded that the CSAH

33/CR113 intersection has sight distance deficiencies, however, due to the very low traffic volumes

physical improvements to the roadways to increase the sight distances are not justified (Appendix

1). The proposer will install signage to alert drivers of hauling trucks. No road segments are

forecasted to reach capacity with the additional truck traffic. No modifications to the existing public

transportation system will be needed to accommodate the proposed mine trucks. MN DOT has

acknowledged the fact that the proposed vehicles have a slow acceleration rate and has

recommended a gap analysis should be conducted to address potential safety concerns

22. Vehicle-related Air Emissions. Estimate the effect of the project’s traffic generation on air quality,

including carbon monoxide levels. Discuss the effect of traffic improvements or other mitigation measures on air quality impacts.

Vehicle-related air emissions generated by this project will consist primarily from emissions from

mobile sources including heavy equipment at the mine (1 backhoe, 1 loader, 1 elevator, one power

screen) and 40 ton over-the-road trucks. The mining equipment will be confined to a ±1 to 3-acre

working/staging area that will migrate across the Nisbit mine as the mining progresses in phases.

The over-the-road trucks will circulate between the loading at the mine and the load out in Winona.

Emissions from vehicles and equipment are controlled by the manufacturer in accordance with

USEPA motor emission regulations and federal fuel standards. All equipment and trucks will be

compliant with current air emission, efficiency and fuel use standards.

Since mining equipment and haul trucks are constantly moving to stay efficient and the open mining

area and prescribed haul routes are adequate to handle the proposed truck traffic, congestion

within the site is not a concern. Haul routes were modeled by traffic engineers and they concluded

selected routes will not cause a decline in the level of service that can contribute to concentrated air

quality problems.

At the mine site the open atmosphere, elevation and topography of the loading areas allows for

diffusion of the engine emissions and will not contribute to pockets of air with excessive pollution

levels.

Mobile source emissions from the added traffic will be ephemeral. With a 16 hour day a maximum

of 240 trucks/day haul vehicles will pass by any particular point on the haul route at a rate of 15

trucks/hour. Based upon discussions with Ralph Pribble at the MPCA he indicated it is a standard

practice to use the US EPA’s online Diesel Emission Quantifier (DEQ)

(http://cfpub.epa.gov/quantifier/) to model and quantify the annual diesel emissions associated

with truck traffic. Annual diesel emissions from the Nisbit Mine for 240 truck trips per day were

modeled to quantify vehicle-related air emissions associated with truck traffic. for three criteria

pollutants including nitrogen oxides (NOx), particulate matter less than 2.5 microns in diameter

(PM2.5), carbon monoxide (CO), in addition to hydrocarbons (HC) and carbon dioxide (CO2) (Appendix

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6). A summary of the modeled results is provided in the table below.

Table 2: Annual Vehicle-related Air Emissions (240 trucks/day maximum)

Pollutant NOx PM2.5 HC CO CO2

Emissions (short tons/yr)

9.31 0.11 0.20 1.0 198.32

Note: Results are based on use of 17,867 gallons of diesel fuel per year. Detail of the model assumptions and calculations used to quantify vehicle-related air emissions are

included in Appendix 6.

According to the USEPA “Green Book Non-attainment Areas for Criteria Pollutants” Winona County

is not listed as a non-attainment area, where air pollution levels persistently exceed National

Ambient Air Quality Standards (http://www.epa.gov/airquaitliy/greenbook).

No air quality issues are known nor have been reported to exist in the vicinity of the mine, along the

haul route or in the City of Winona at the present time. The level of traffic generated by the mining

activity is not expected to lead to any measurable decrease in air quality due to vehicle emissions.

No detail or published information is available on the potential for fugitive dust and ambient air

changes associated with projected haul routes and dust from vehicles. MN Statutes require heavy

vehicles to secure and cover loads with tarps and Winona County will require vehicles be covered

and cleaned satisfactorily to avoid accumulation of tracked material onto public roadways.

The Minnesota Department of Health has cautioned on the health risks associated with silica dust

but has acknowledged that no data is available on ambient air conditions having possible lower

concentrations of silica dust, noting it is the subject of on-going research. (See MDH Publication

“Frac Sand Mining in Minnesota, September, 2012).

23. Stationary Source Air Emissions. Describe the type, sources, quantities and compositions of any

emissions from stationary sources of air emissions such as boilers, exhaust stacks or fugitive dust sources. Include any hazardous air pollutants (consult EAW Guidelines for a listing), any greenhouse gases (such as carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxides), and ozone-depleting chemicals (chlorofluorocarbons, hydro fluorocarbons, per fluorocarbons or sulfur hexafluoride). Also describe any proposed pollution prevention techniques and proposed air pollution control devices. Describe the impacts on air quality. There are no stationary source air emissions for the operations in this proposal. All mine

equipment will be mobile and will move as the working face migrates across the mine site. The

mine equipment will be placed across a ±1 to 3-acre area, depending on each mine phase.

The applicant claims that numerous published studies of airborne particles show that clay and

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other plate-like or lath-like particles have a larger aerodynamic diameter than round sand particles, thus making it more difficult for round sand to stay suspended in the air than similar sized clay or silt particles that become airborne from soil disturbance, wind erosion or road dust. The applicant has stated that the Web Soil Survey and other published studies of the mineralogy of loess soils similar to the soils surrounding the Nisbit ridge have a greater proportion of respirable silica dust (< 4 microns) than the St. Peter sand that is proposed to be mined thus making wind erosion of the soil and of the sand both priorities for the mine operation. Sand samples analyzed by McGhie & Betts, inc. from the Nisbit mine show fine sand passing the

200 sieve (finer than 73 microns) ranges from zero to 10.4%. A hydrometer grain size analysis of

the sample with 10% passing the 200 sieve found that particles less than 10 microns were 2.6% of

the sample while the other samples had no particles finer than the 200 sieve (73 microns).

According to the proposer fine sand and dust does not become airborne and suspended under

normal conditions when the moisture level of the sand is above 1.5%. Comparing the sand to the

surrounding Lindstrom soils (301A, 301C and 301D), we find that this soil type has 85-95%

particles passing the 200 sieve, and the Frankville soils that have 95-100% passing the 200 sieve.

The smaller than 200 particles in the local soils have been analyzed to be 50-60% silica, therefore

the dust from the cropland may be 42.5 to 60% repairable silica dust while the sand that is being

mined has zero to 2.6% silica dust. According to the proposer the silica sand being mined has

much less risk of creating respirable silica dust than the surrounding agricultural soils.

Research from Mine Safety Health Administration (MSHA) and the Center for Disease Control

(CDC) indicate long-term exposure to silica sand (crystalline silica) can cause acute and chronic

health effects, or in severe cases silicosis. The most common occurrences are reported in

employees with high risk jobs having frequent daily exposure to dust including farming,

sandblasting, foundry work, or stonecutting and other activities where the silica sand is exposed

over large areas or where silica sand grains are crushed into very small particles less than 4

microns in size (PM4). According to the proposer in this instance the silica sand mining avoids

breaking the sand grains because the industrial proppant sand applications are dependent upon

maintaining the grain size and round structure of the silica sand. Compromising the quality of the

sand through crushing or pulverizing would make the silica sand unusable as proppant.

Therefore, the Nisbit Mine will preserve the physical properties of course to fine grained, round

silica sand found at the Nisbit Mine to ensure respirable silica dust is minimized.

Dust control methods employed on the site include: first to strip and immediately re-vegetate soils; second, limit the amount of sand being exposed at any given time to less than 5 acres by using rapid restoration; third, employ the perimeter berm/rim ditch as a partial wind break; and, fourth to employ water trucks for dust control during dry and windy days. The dust from the mine is expected to be confined to the Nisbit property and all haul trucks will use covers for loads at all times. Additionally, dust suppressants such as misting around equipment, enclosed equipment with cabs and air filtration systems, watering or treatments of the haul roads, covered truck loads, clean-up of spilled sand and following MSHA best management practices for dust control in silica mines are the primary tools for minimizing dust.

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Further, as silica sand is excavated it will be loaded into a jaw crusher, screen and elevator equipped with big hoppers and shields to produce two stockpiles. As material is transferred from crusher, screen and loader the dust generated will be suppressed by conforming to MSHA standards that require well maintained equipment with proper guards and dust control measures like watering, misting, protective berms and dust resistant surfaces to control dust below the permissible exposure limit for worker safety. Protecting worker safety has the corollary effect of protecting the public from dust exposure.

There will not be any boilers or stationary engine installations.

Further, the Nisbit Mine will comply with the proposed Winona County Conditional Use Permit

General Condition Item number 4 “Air Quality monitoring” for sand mining operations. Condition

4 requires air quality monitoring when residential homes are located within a 1,320 foot radius

(1/4 mile) from the site. The closest home is located 850 feet from the mine, but is the applicants

homestead and is exempt from the setback requirements. The next closest home west of the

Nisbit’s is vacant. The nearest occupied home is located 1,500 feet to the south of the Nisbit

Mine outside of the area where air quality monitoring is required. Therefore, no air quality

monitoring is expected at this time.

24. Odors, noise and dust. Will the project generate odors, noise or dust during construction or during

operation? Yes No

If yes, describe sources, characteristics, duration, quantities or intensity and any proposed measures to mitigate adverse impacts. Also identify locations of nearby sensitive receptors and estimate impacts on them. Discuss potential impacts on human health or quality of life. (Note: fugitive dust generated by operations may be discussed at item 23 instead of here.)

Odors Diesel odors will be emitted by construction equipment during the quarrying and transporting at the site. Emissions are regulated by the USEPA at the manufacturer of the equipment and trucks. The sand and rock has no odor. We do not anticipate that any odors will occur during mining or post construction other than vehicle exhaust during heavy commute times. Noise Noise will be emitted by earth moving equipment and mining during their established hours of operation. Heavy equipment noise, including back-up beepers, will be noticeable at the site and on adjacent properties. Quarrying noise will be typically associated with the operation of motorized vehicles and construction equipment similar to noise generated from agricultural operations. All diesel and gasoline driven equipment will have mufflers. To the extent practicable the processing equipment will be shielded and placed near the mining operation. Truckers will be instructed not to employ dynamic breaking while hauling. Back-up beepers will be utilized on all

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equipment in accordance with National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Guidelines and Minnesota Occupational Health and Safety Administration (MNOSHA) Rules.

The proposer indicates that the area is sparsely populated and there are few noise receptors in close proximity to the site. The topography of the working face and operational area, the perimeter berms, and the wind speed and direction will influence the noise for receptors in the area.

The applicant acknowledges and recognizes the requirements to adhere to Minnesota Noise Rules MR7030 for Class 3 noise areas for agricultural and related activities. These requirements prescribe standards for day and night that “are constant with speech, sleep, annoyance and hearing conservation requirements for receivers.”

The noise levels for this activity would be measured at the property line and would be:

Daytime and nighttime: L10 (10% of the time in a one hour survey) = 80 dB.

Daytime and nighttime: L50 (50% of the time in a one hour survey) = 75 dB.

Blasting may be necessary to start Phase I while removing the cap rock off the ridge and to loosen well cemented sandstone. Blasting creates an instantaneous “impulse” noise and percussion that may be noticed in the areas near and downwind of the blast site. If blasting is found to be necessary the owner and operator will retain professional and licensed blasting contractors who operate in accordance with all federal, state, county and township regulations. No explosives will be stored on the site. The blasting contractor will notify all adjoining neighbors in advance of the blast alerting them to the time and duration of the event and vibration monitoring shall be done as necessary at the adjacent homes and structures within ¼ mile of the proposed blast. Dust The potential for dust generation from silica sand mining occurs during various stages of mining including topsoil stripping, crushing, screening, truck traffic from hauling and wind exposure on the open mine face or from exposed stockpiles. Control measures can be employed to reduce the amount of dust produced during mining operations to protect mine workers, nearby receptors and individuals along the haul routes. Worker safety from respirable silica dust exposure is the primary human health concern. The MSHA regulates exposure of silica in the mining workplace and has established an exposure limit of 0.1 mg/m3 of air over an 8-hour work shift. Additional standards established by the NIOSH have a recommended exposure limit (REL) for silica of 0.05 mg/m3 (fixed value), which is half the regulated exposure limit. In accordance with the 1970 Occupation Safety and Health Act (OSHA) specific employers are then responsible for providing safe and healthy working conditions. Engineered controls, work practice, personal protective equipment and working training are important aspects of minimizing dust. The principal means of dust control at the Nisbit mine includes limiting the size of the open face and working area to less than 5-acres. Best management practices such as strategically placing berms to create windbreaks from the prevailing NW and SW winds ensures the mine open face is

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protected from wind exposure. Other practices including use of water trucks for wet suppression and vegetation establishment over all areas not used for active mining will help minimize dust during mining operations and hauling. Operations will comply with the recommendations of the Department of Health and Human Services Center for Disease Control and National Institute of Occupational Health and Safety Information Circular 9521, 2010 “Best Practices for Dust Control in Metal/Nonmetal Mining.” The manual prescribes best management practices to protect workers and prevent fugitive dust. For the Nisbit Mine three principal areas of dust control are prescribed:

Mining area: Equipment and trucks will have cabs with filtration systems to protect workers. Water will be employed on travel surfaces.

Processing areas: Crushers and screens will employ wet suppression for dust at transfer points.

Private haul roads: The roads will be constructed of crushed limestone aggregate and recycled bituminous. The driving surface will be treated with oil, chloride and/or water to control dust. There is no hauling on crushed rock public roads and dust suppression will not be used on paved surfaces. Best Management Practices will be employed to control tracking on public roadways.

In addition to protect receptors located adjacent to the mine and along the proposed haul routes all trucks will comply with Minnesota Statutes (MS 169.81, Subd. 5) that states “no vehicle shall be driven or moved on any highway unless such vehicle is so constructed, loaded, or the load securely covered as to prevent any of its load from dropping, sifting, leaking, blowing, or otherwise escaping.” According to the proposer only a small fraction (≤5 ac) of the 19.1-acre mining area and the processing/vehicle parking area (≤1.13 ac) will be active at any one time during the project and receptors located adjacent to the mine and along the haul routes are at a low risk of exposure to silica sand.

25. Nearby resources. Are any of the following resources on or in proximity to the site? a. Archaeological, historical, or architectural resources? Yes No b. Prime or unique farmlands or land within an agricultural preserve? Yes No c. Designated parks, recreation areas, or trails? Yes No d. Scenic views and vistas? Yes No e. Other unique resources? Yes No If yes, describe the resource and identify any project-related impacts on the resources. Describe any

measures to minimize or avoid adverse impacts. Two adjoining properties are enrolled in the Agricultural Preserve program in accordance with MS 40A. Public records show that the abutting Rachael Boyum property and the Harmon Family Farms property shown on Figure 3 are enrolled in the Ag-Preserve.

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The Minnesota State Historical Preservation Office (SHPO) of the Minnesota Historical Society was

contacted to determine if any archeological or historically significant sites existed on or near the

Nisbit Mine. There have been no identified historical or archaeological resources located within

the proposed project boundaries. A letter from SHPO is provided in Appendix 7.

The NRCS system described in item 16b indicates all soils within the Nisbit Mine are not

considered prime farmland.

There are no significant recreational resources on or within 5 miles of the Nisbit Mine including

designated parks, recreation areas, trails, or wildlife management areas. However, along the

mine’s haul route three recreational resources, including a state designated snowmobile trail

(west of CSAH 33 ROW), the County Farmers Community Park (south of US Highway 14) and the

Department of Natural Resources designated Aquatic Management Area along Garvin Brook

(south of US Highway 14) are located more than 5 miles from the proposed mine. According to

the proposer, compared to mine worker exposure as discussed in Item 24, dust impacts to the

users of these resources will be negligible as covered trucks temporarily pass by the resource

within a few seconds and will be substantially less than living or working on or near cropland.

The Nisbit Mine will be operated during Monday through Friday between the hours of 7 AM and

10 PM CST and Saturday from 7 AM to 12 PM CST. Hauling will take place Monday through Friday

between the hours of 7 AM and 7 PM CST and Saturdays from 7 AM to 12 PM CST. The proposer

indicates hauling will be completed each week by 12 PM CST on Saturdays before roadway traffic

increases from nearby residents traveling to popular tourist destinations such as Winona,

Rochester, Lanesboro or La Crosse. There are no tourist destinations located within 5 miles of the

mine.

Although there are no identified scenic views or vistas, the site is visible from some areas of adjacent roadways and properties.

26. Visual impacts. Will the project create adverse visual impacts during construction or operation? Such as glare from intense lights, lights visible in wilderness areas and large visible plumes from cooling towers or exhaust stacks? Yes No If yes, explain.

Most construction operations will be carried out during daylight hours. Temporary lighting is

expected during the construction phase during early morning and evening hours. The proposed

hours of operation are 7:00 AM to 10:00 PM and during the winter months downcast portable

lighting will be used to illuminate the working area. Depending upon weather conditions and the

prevailing wind direction occasional dust may be visible during dry periods. However, a water

tanker truck will be used on-site for dust control on the access driveway and stockpiles. No

stationary sources or fixed exhaust stacks are anticipated which would create additional visual

impacts.

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Stockpile areas placed within the mining limits will provide transient screening of mining activities

for surrounding roadways and properties. Stockpiles that will remain in place longer than 14 days

will be susceptible to wind erosion and will be covered with topsoil, seeded, and mulched. Due to

the phasing and continuous restoration the site will have the appearance of a 3 to 5-acre sand pit

surrounded by cropland. The mining site is located in a rural area and there are few residences

that would be visually impacted by the mining and quarrying operation.

Due to visibility from surrounding roadways and properties, it is expected that current viewsheds will be affected by mining operations.

27. Compatibility with plans and land use regulations. Is the project subject to an adopted local comprehensive plan, land use plan or regulation, or other applicable land use, water, or resource management plan of a local, regional, state or federal agency? Yes No

If yes, describe the plan, discuss its compatibility with the project and explain how any conflicts will be resolved. If no, explain. Winona County has land use and zoning authority and the Nisbit Mine is subject to the Winona

County Comprehensive Plan (2000). The property is zoned Agricultural/Resource Conservation as

defined in the Winona County Zoning Ordinance. Mining operations are permitted in this zone

when reviewed and approved as part of a Conditional Use Permit (CUP). CUP requirements are

outlined in Chapter 6.10 of the Winona County Zoning Ordinance and the Nisbit Mine will follow

the Extraction Pits/Land Alterations requirements as outlined in Winona County Zoning Ordinance

Chapter 9.10.

Winona County’s Comprehensive Plan’s Goals and Policies (p. 17, Development Goals and

Policies) indicates the promotion of protection and preservation of agricultural lands by limiting

non-agricultural development in agricultural areas. Extraction of mineral resources has been a

historic land use attributable to agricultural areas and therefore mining is consistent with the

Winona County Comprehensive Plan recommendations in agricultural areas, however, industrial

mining on a larger scale must be considered when altering land use patterns, specifically the

removal of prime agricultural lands from crop production or pastures. While it is important to

recognize that the proposed mining area is largely in crop production and a portion in

brush/pasture, this will be an important consideration of post-mining reclamation.

Winona County’s zoning ordinance requires certain performance and area standards for mining and extraction and this proposed site will be required to conform to local regulations.

28. Impact on infrastructure and public services. Will new or expanded utilities, roads, other infrastructure or public services be required to serve the project? Yes No If yes, describe the new or additional infrastructure or services needed. (Note: any infrastructure that is a connected action with respect to the project must be assessed in the EAW; see EAW Guidelines for details.)

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The Nisbit Mine does not require any connection to public utilities, just an improved access to

existing public roadways. The impacts to public roadways are identified in item 21. Any

maintenance or upgrades to the haul route would be addressed in a roadway agreement with

Winona County.

Further processing of the sand at off-site facilities may have an impact on public facilities. Those

impacts are outside the realm of this EAW.

The “Silica Sand Mining in Wisconsin” report of the Wisconsin DNR, January 2012, acknowledges that “vehicular traffic on local roads will have an impact on the service life and condition of the roads and that the degree of road deterioration will depend on the amount of traffic, the type of vehicles and the design of the road.” Winona County anticipates the use of a road impact exaction, required as part of the conditional use permit process for County Highways in order to address this impact and the use of local road use agreements to mitigate impacts on local roads. The proposed quarry operations anticipate up to 240 truck trips per day (120 out and 120 in). The impact on County Highways is expected to be mitigated by proposed requirements for a road impact agreement requiring an exaction for road impacts. Additional impact on public services is due to required staff time in EAW and permitting review and projected administration of permits.

29. Cumulative potential effects. Minn. R. 4410.1700, subp. 7, item B requires that the RGU consider the “cumulative potential effects of related or anticipated future projects” when determining the need for an environmental impact statement. Identify any past, present or reasonably foreseeable future projects that may interact with the project described in this EAW in such a way as to cause cumulative potential effects. (Such future projects would be those that are actually planned or for which a basis of expectation has been laid.) Describe the nature of the cumulative potential effects and summarize any other available information relevant to determining whether there is potential for significant environmental effects due to these cumulative effects (or discuss each cumulative effect under appropriate item(s) elsewhere on this form). Cumulative Effects are defined by Minnesota Environmental Rules as “effects resulting from a past, present, or reasonably foreseeable future projects”. Potential Cumulative Effects may be considered in determining the need for an EIS. Cumulative effects are also important in determining the need for an EIS in that they ultimately assist the RGU in achieving disclosure and assessment of the environmental impacts potentially caused by an action (whether individual, connected or phased). Cumulative Impacts are more fully defined in MN Rules 4410.0200, subpart 11 which states that “cumulative impacts can result from individually minor, but collectively significant projects taking place over a period of time”.

MN Rules contain the following provisions involving cumulative impact:

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EIS need decision criteria (4410.1700, subpart 7, item B)-Cumulative potential effects of related or anticipated future projects-the cumulative impacts must be weighed along with the project’s direct impacts when deciding if an EIS is needed. This criterion also implies that the RGU must consider this in the preparation of an EAW.

Related actions EIS (4410.2000, subpart 5)-This provision authorizes a single EIS to cover “independent projects with cumulative impacts on the same geographic area, if joint review will not unreasonably delay review of the project.”

EIS scoping decision (4410.2100, subpart 6) a scoping decision is to include “identification of potential impact areas resulting from the project itself and from related actions” In other words, the RGU must consider both direct and cumulative impacts.

EIS contents-impacts (4410.2300, item H) this provision requires an EIS to address both direct and indirect impacts which may include cumulative impacts.

Generic EIS-criteria (4410.3800, subpart 5, item G) Indicates that one criteria for ordering a generic EIS is “the potential for significant environmental effects as a result of cumulative impacts of such projects”.

The Nisbit quarry is 19.1 acres, smaller than other proposed quarries in SW Winona County. It is

being operated by an independent operator not affiliated with the operators of the other mines

indicated below. In addition, it was the earliest application for industrial sand mining in Winona

County and has always anticipated trucking the material to processing and load-out facilities in

the City of Winona.

As stated by the proposers the Nisbit owners and operators cannot predict any past, present or

reasonably foreseeable future projects that may interact with this mine.

Phased and connected actions do not in themselves constitute cumulative potential effects;

however, they may influence the consideration of cumulative potential; effects due to timing,

geographic proximity, operational relationships and other criteria. Current guidance on phased

and connected actions does not clearly indicate this mine is part of a larger action. Connected

actions are defined by one project inducing or being interdependent with another. It is not clear

that this mine will interact in any way with those indicated below. Phased actions are partially

defined as having sequential timing. Since this mine is being operated independently and has its

own market relationships, it is not clear that it is in any way sequentially timed with other mines

in the area.

According to the City of Winona there are currently six active silica sand washing and/or load out

facilities actively operating in Winona; these facilities purchase silica sand from approved and

active mines located in Wisconsin. According to the proposer, silica sand load-out and export

capacity is capped in Winona County Minnesota until another rail load out facility is approved.

The proposer further indicates that the Brannt Valley load out and sand washing facility is the sole

market for the sand from the Nisbit mine although it is currently operating at maximum capacity

with undefined agreements from approved sand mines in Wisconsin. Once the Nisbit mine is

approved the proposer indicates that Brannt Valley will purchase silica sand from the Nisbit Mine

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which will result in displacing existing Wisconsin sand supply markets to Brannt Valley reducing

the trucking across the interstate bridge.

It is possible that other mining projects are proposed within Winona County but the exact

location, plans and details are unknown and cannot be reliably predicted due to proprietary

economics and permitting.

Other mine owners and operators not affiliated with the Nisbit mine are discussing projects within the vicinity of this project which is related to the cumulative availability of the high quality silica sand within the region. What follows is a list of known or discussed projects associated with silica sand in the Winona County vicinity:

A number of processing facilities exist within or within the vicinity of the City of Winona.

A number of shipping facilities exist within the City of Winona where rail and barge access are available.

Preliminary information on a proposed processing site near the City of St. Charles indicates a 300 acre project, having an annual processing capacity of 2 million tons of sand and a trans-load rail facility.

A 36.5 acre quarry site is proposed in Saratoga Township (Dabelstein Site) and is the subject of an EAW. The mine operator is Minnesota Sands LLC.

An 84.3 acre quarry site is proposed in Saratoga Township (Yoder Site) and is the subject of an EAW. The mine operator is Minnesota Sands LLC.

Additionally, there is at least one known mine proposed in Fillmore County located in Holt Township on County Road 10 about ½ mile southwest of Highland (approx. 50 acres). Fillmore County has also indicated 3 pre-applicants in Pilot Mound Township, just south of the project area, in Sections 1 and 2, about a mile away from Winona County Road 33, south of CR104 and County 30. They are listed as the Alice Dabelstein quarry (approx. 50 acres and approximately 1.25 miles from the Nisbit property), the Randy Boyum quarry (approx. 50 acres and approximately 1 mile from the Nisbit property) and the Kessler Quarry (apprx. 30 acres and approximately 1 mile from the Yoder property). The mine operator for these sites is Minnesota Sands LLC according to information from Fillmore County.

Lastly, a Minnesota Sands LLC, public relations employee indicated in a Winona Post newspaper article from October, 2012, that the company had nine leases in three different counties.

To summarize, cumulative potential effects may be:

Impacts of vibrations on neighboring properties caused by blasting cap rock.

Impacts on road infrastructure and safety due to truck traffic.

Impacts of traffic entering the cities of Winona and Goodview with regards to levels of service, safety and infrastructure capacity.

Impacts on air quality due to dust or airborne crystalline silica

Impacts on water quality due to change in land cover and runoff quality/rates.

Impacts on processing facilities, existing and proposed.

Impacts on shipping facilities, existing and proposed.

Impacts on other quarries, existing and proposed.

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Impacts due to expansions at existing processing, shipping or quarries.

Impacts created by fluctuations in market demand. Impacts created by new technologies and material uses. Impacts yet to be determined. The nature of potential cumulative effects can be determined by considering the breadth

of issues contained herein, including the data submittal by the proposer, supplemental

agency comments and information identifying areas for additional study.

30. Other Potential Environmental Impacts. If the project may cause any adverse environmental impacts not addressed by items 1 to 28, identify and discuss them here, along with any proposed mitigation. No other potential environmental impacts are expected that haven’t been addressed by items 1

to 28.

31.

Summary of issues. (Do not complete this section if the EAW is being done for EIS scoping; instead, address relevant issues in the Draft Scoping Decision Document, which must accompany the EAW.) List any impacts and issues identified above that may require further investigation before the project is begun. Discuss any alternatives or mitigate measures that have been or may be considered for these impacts and issues, including those that have been or may be ordered as permit conditions.

Based upon further discussion with the Winona County Planning Commission Staff the applicant was

requested to address several additional issues not specified in the standard Environment Assessment

Worksheet (EAW). Additional issues addressed in the EAW are summarized below:

Property Values (See Item 9)

Air quality impacts on haul routes (see Item 24, Dust)

Tourism impacts (See Item 25)

Assess cumulative potential effects of other sand mining projects within Winona County (See

Item 29)

Assess cumulative potential effects of the sand load out facility in Winona (See Item 29)

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Additional issues related to the proposed project are:

Susceptibility to karst formations – reference #19, is a risk in areas where carbonate bedrock is the first encountered bedrock or where there is minimal cover over the karst. The Nisbit sand ridge site has Shakopee formation karst at an elevation of approximately 1,130 feet, 40 feet below the base of the mine. Diversion and buffer areas are the most effective methods for minimizing impacts to groundwater via sinkholes.

Because sinkholes can create a conduit to funnel contaminated surface waters into the Prairie du Chein/Jordan aquifer sinkhole prevention is a priority. According to the applicants Geologist sinkhole prevention at the site is best accomplished by leaving adequate (>20 feet) of cover over the Shakopee and by not designing or constructing ponds or lagoons.

Because the surrounding bedrock is high permeability sand the surrounding terrain can also be a conduit for contamination from the release of dissolved compounds such as nitrogen, chlorides, pesticides and petroleum products. While mining will reduce the use of nitrates and pesticides over the 19.1-acre footprint of the mine prevention and

Issue Alternative Mitigation

Farmland Conversion Loss None Site is proposed to be restored to grassland.

Wildlife and Ecologically Sensitive Resources

None Wildlife displacement will be temporary and restoration will be grassland. Ecologically sensitive resources are not state-listed endangered, threatened or special concern species and are not regulated.

Water Quality None Comply with erosion and runoff control measures using berms, swales and silt fencing; obtain MPCA Nonmetallic Mining Stormwater Discharge Permit

Geologic Hazards None Develop a sinkhole mitigation plan if mining exposes a sinkhole formation

Vehicle-related Air Emissions None Regularly maintain construction equipment to ensure compliance with current air emission, efficiency and fuel use standards is employed.

Dust Employ dust control measures that include watering and chloride applications to graded areas, minimizing the open face of the mine, employing wet suppression on crusher and screens and stabilize disturbed areas with vegetation within 90 days.

Noise Control and enforce hours of operation.

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immediate clean-up of leaks and spills, or avoidance of the excessive use of chlorides will also help reduce the risk of groundwater contamination. While sinkholes can be repaired

and mitigated the prevention of the release of any contaminates that could affect the aquifer is a priority.

Susceptibility to pollution of drinking water – reference item 12, 17 and 18. Mining will not come in contact with groundwater and will not require any dewatering or chemical flocculation of storm water runoff.

Traffic – reference Item 21. The impact on County Highways is being mitigated by

proposed requirements for a road impact agreement requiring an exaction for

road impacts.

Health impacts due to airborne crystalline silica – reference Item 24. The Minnesota

Pollution Control Agency states “There are known health risks associated with airborne

crystalline silica. However, the available information on health effects comes almost

exclusively from occupational settings, where exposures are more concentrated. There

are no federal or state standards for silica in ambient air.” The MPCA and Minnesota

Department of Health are working in conjunction with other states to determine if any

regulatory changes should be made.

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