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Lake outlet contract signing delayed

Although the Minnesota State Legislature has approved $10 million to fund an outlet plan to alleviate chronic high water levels on Little McDonald, Kerbs, Paul and Devils Lake, a final contract agreement between Otter Tail County and the state of...

     Although the Minnesota State Legislature has approved $10 million to fund an outlet plan to alleviate chronic high water levels on Little McDonald, Kerbs, Paul and Devils Lake, a final contract agreement between Otter Tail County and the state of Minnesota has been pushed back due to a paperwork delay.

The delay was announced Sept. 22 during a meeting of the Otter Tail County Board of Commissioners.

The outlet, if built, would help relieve aforementioned landlocked lakes west of Perham which have experienced high water as well as lake home and property damage in previous months.

The operational plan includes moving water from the northeast side of Little McDonald Lake into the Otter Tail River, to the north. Devils Lake, northeast of Little McDonald Lake, would tap into the outlet near 460th Street. The location would be on the west end of Devils Lake.

The operational plan calls for discharge of up to 25 cubic feet per second. Having control over the outlet, and making decisions on when it’s open and when it’s closed, would likely be Otter Tail County officials such as County Engineer Rick West.

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Lowering the lake level of the affected landlocked lakes three feet would take several months, according to outlet proponents. A sand filtration system would be part of the plan, to preclude the spread of invasive species.

Opposition to outlet aired during county board meeting

 

Don Flatau, representing people opposed to the outlet plan, addressed the five-person county board on Sept. 22. He represented area landowners, farmers and irrigators.

The group is urging the DNR, through a petition, to deny issuing a water pumping permit to the Little McDonald, Kerbs and Paul Lake Improvement District (LID).

“The doubling of consumption from this sandy aquifer will place it in an unnatural strain,” said Flatau. “The impact has not been adequately studied.”

He said the plan for discharge of up to 25 cubic feet per second equates to 187 gallons every second and amounts to over four billion gallons of water annually.

“The annual volume of water is the equivalent consumption as 85 center pivot irrigators or a cheese factory five times the size of the current cheese facility in Perham,” said Flatau.

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He said that property owners have expressed reluctance to signing agreements with the LID.

“As for the sand filter to reduce the risk of zebra mussels spreading, extracting water through this system would increase the likelihood of having sand particles in the water stream,” said Flatau. “The particles will silt the natural creek and wetland which will impact wildlife and creek flow rates.”

Related Topics: OTTER TAIL COUNTY
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