Another drawdown of Lake Ocheda possible

The continued low water levels in the lake make it an ideal time for a second attempt, OOWD administrator Dan Livdahl told the board at a meeting on Tuesday. Livdahl said pulling the joists from the Lake Ocheda dam will only lower the lake’s level by one foot.

“We are seeing a fish kill right now,” he said, adding that freshwater drum minnows (sheep’s heads) are mainly found floating along the shore on the eastern and western pools of Lake Ocheda. . “These are also the first minnows that died last winter. They are more sensitive to lack of oxygen.

Livdahl predicts that the group will decide to start another withdrawal as soon as possible in an attempt to kill the remaining fish in Lake Ocheda. Drawdowns were identified as a management tool to rid the lake of an extremely high population of common carp. Carp lift sediment and uproot vegetation, resulting in poor lake water quality and a decade-long listing on the state’s degraded water list.

“We think 75% to 90% of the fish died (last winter),” Livdahl said. “We got rid of a lot of fish, but we didn’t kill them all. “

Since the MRN created the management plan for the lake, it is they who make the ultimate decision on a drawdown. The watershed district provides information and provides management.

Jay Milbrandt, a Lake Ocheda landowner who had to contend with a large chunk of dead fish on its shores this spring, said he would like the watershed district to include the cleanup in its budget in the future. As a result of this spring’s fish slaughter, the district provided a 75% cost share with the lake landowners who submitted an invoice for the cleanup.

“It was disgusting,” Milbrandt said of the dead fish that washed up on his property and then were piled up on his property. “It diminished our enjoyment of the lake during the summer.

“If we create this condition, we should help,” he added.

Livdahl said the watershed district has the money and could help share the costs of the cleanup. Although this decision should not be taken immediately, he said he strongly supports the withdrawal.

“We’re at this point,” said manager Casey Ingenthron. “It will be a great opportunity (to try and kill the remaining fish.”

Following the discussion, council voted unanimously in favor of another withdrawal, if that is what MNR recommends.

Following a design request from Houston Engineering earlier this year to collaborate with Independent School District 518 on a water quality project on its property south and west of the new middle school, the council considered a few options on Tuesday.

In each design, a pond would be created on the property to store water that flows from farmland to Lake Okabena.

“The two ponds are about the same efficiency at removing pollution,” Livdahl told the board. “I think they did a really good job with both of them.”

ISD 518’s education board has yet to see the designs, and Livdahl suggested that he and one or two members of the watershed board present the proposals to them. If the school district supports the project, the watershed will apply for a Clean Water, Land and Legacy grant from the state of Minnesota to help fund the estimated $ 1.2 million project.

Since the current grant submission period ends later this month, Livdahl suggested continuing to work on the proposal with the idea of ​​submitting a grant application next summer. If one of them is awarded, it will cover 75% of the project costs, with the river basin district and potential partners having to finance the remaining 25%.

“The city has funds to do (projects) in the Sunset Bay watershed, and we also have money,” Livdahl said, adding that the school district’s contribution would be to donate the land where the watershed. storage would be built.

In other matters, counsel:

  • Approved a 2022 draft budget ahead of a public hearing at the September 7 board meeting. The district intends to raise $ 253,000, with $ 261,750 in projected income and expenses.

  • Approved an Erosion Control Permit for the Town of Worthington to complete asphalt pavements on several streets.

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