Article by Chris Giesen
The Lewiston EDA recently began plans to put an interesting twist on the future of its former waste water ponds. The EDA, with assistance from CEDA, began discussing options after the decision to decertify the waste water ponds was made certain by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency and reports from the public that unusual birds had been sighted making the ponds home, drawing dozens of bird watchers from around the region after the bird sightings were reported on the internet.
“The question was, if these ponds are no longer going to be used by the city for waste water treatment and now there are rare birds that people are coming to see, how can we turn this into an opportunity to grow the community?” said CEDA Community and Economic Development Specialist and Lewiston Economic Development Director Chris Giesen. “Plus, this area would lend itself nicely to the recreational trail plan that Lewiston is developing.” he continued.
Currently the Winona Soil and Water Conservation District has a native prairie planting on the approximately 40 acre site, but plans are underway to preserve the mud flats that attract the unusual Plover shorebird (which looks similar to a Killdeer) and possibly add other recreational features like walking trails and picnic areas.
The project is a joint effort between the Lewiston EDA, City Council, Winona Soil and Water Conservation District, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, and the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. “We also hope to start collaborating with the Lewiston-Altura School District and other service organizations like the Lewiston Sportsman’s Club.” said Giesen.