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DNR to hold hearings on two Otter Tail County lakes

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources will hold two public hearings on Wednesday, July 23, to formally designate Mud Lake and Upper Lightning Lake in Otter Tail County as wildlife lakes for wildlife management purposes.

The public hearings will be held at the DNR’s Fergus Falls area office, at 1509 First Ave. N., in Fergus Falls. The hearing for Mud Lake will begin at 5:30 p.m. and the hearing for Upper Lightning Lake will begin at 7:30 p.m.

The DNR will present background information and proposed management plans, answer questions and accept testimony on the wildlife lake designation proposals.

Designating Mud Lake and Upper Lightning Lake as wildlife lakes would give the DNR authority to conduct periodic drawdowns with water control structures and pumps. Drawdowns are a common management tool for improving waterfowl habitat and water quality by reducing undesirable fish and encouraging aquatic plant growth.

Mud Lake is a 253-acre shallow lake located in Aastad Township, about 10 miles south of Fergus Falls. The lake provides quality habitat for migratory waterfowl and has a history of waterfowl and wildlife use. High water levels in recent years have resulted in an increase in undesirable fish populations and shoreline erosion. These changes have led to concerns over waterfowl habitat conditions on Mud Lake.

Upper Lightning Lake is a 720-acre shallow basin in Western Township, approximately 9 miles southwest of Fergus Falls. Historically, Upper Lightning Lake was known as an excellent waterfowl migration, staging and breeding area. Persistent high water levels have resulted in increasing numbers of undesirable fish, poor water quality and degraded waterfowl habitat.

If unable to attend the hearings, contact Don Schultz, DNR area wildlife supervisor, 218-739-7576, ext. 228, or Todd Call, DNR wildlife lake specialist, 320-634-0350, for more information.

The draft management plans for Mud Lake and Upper Lightning Lake are at Comments will be accepted in writing until Aug. 25 to the Fergus Falls area DNR office.