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Dan Petrik, who is coordinating the project for the DNR, said some of the fears about riverfront properties being classed as “nonconforming” are overblown and based on a misperception of what the new rules will mean. That’s why the agency has gone to great lengths to gather feedback and explain their implications.
The river corridor is also a national park — the Mississippi National River and Recreational Area. For that reason, said John Anfinson, the park’s acting superintendent, the resulting rules should protect what makes the river not just a local and state resource but one with national and even global significance.
“Our job is to help cities on the river to look beyond their own boundaries, to see the bigger picture,” he said. “I get very clearly that locals want to do their own thing — that’s just natural. But the Mississippi River is worthy of high consideration.”
He said the federal agency supports rules that set a high protective standard, are consistently enforced and reflect why the area known as the Mississippi Corridor Critical Area was created.
“If we really believe this is a great river, one of the great rivers of the world, shouldn’t that reflect what we do along it?” Anfinson asked. “Why can’t we have a corridor that celebrates the river and does the right thing by it? The better we do by the river, the better we do by the cities along the river.”
Jim Anderson • 651-925-5039