Northern Natural Gas intends to construct a natural gas pipeline predominantly through an existing gas line utility easement in Lebanon Hills Regional Park. The project will provide natural gas service to the Xcel Energy Black Dog power plant which will be converted from coal burning to natural gas, but will also protect and enhance the park’s natural resources.
The 9.63-acre easement will be revegetated with more than 3,000 native trees and shrubs, and the 4.7-acre construction area will be restored to native prairie.
Minimizing impacts of construction
Northern Natural Gas will minimize impact to park resources by using horizontal directional drilling instead of open cutting. As a result, 96 percent of this project will occur underground, with no impact to surface resources of the park. Northern Natural Gas is committed to working with the County to fully complete the prairie restoration in areas disturbed by construction.
Northern Natural Gas has agreed to monitor the easement by foot, rather than aerial surveying. Because of this new practice, there will be no future mowing or clearing of the easement. The result will be a much more natural, integrated easement, creating habitat for wildlife and decreasing the visual impact of the easement through the park.
Northern Natural Gas Project Page
Minor tree removal efforts will occur in early February 2018 in the Northern Natural Gas easement north and west of Buck Pond and in the temporary work space as needed. Park user impacts will be minimal. Expect temporary daytime closure of snowshoe/hiking trail from Parkridge Drive to Intersection 7. No ski trails will be closed. Tree removal work is expected to take a week or less.
2018: Start construction. Expect some trail re-routing during this period.
2018-2019: Prairie reconstruction, tree and shrub planting.
2019-2021: Prairie establishment and tree planting maintenance period.