A management practice for shallow lakes – greater than 50 acres, less than 15 feet deep – that have been degraded due to increased inflow of nutrient rich water, altered watershed hydrology, algae, and undesirable fish. Deliberately lowering the water levels can help eliminate negative impacts and improve overall lake habitat. This procedure is temporary – usually lasting less than two years – and is often repeated every 8-10 years to maintain water quality and habitat conditions.

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SHALLOW LAKE DRAWDOWN

SHALLOW LAKE DRAWDOWN

Photo by Douglas Gayeton

SHALLOW LAKE DRAWDOWN

Shallow Lake Drawdown
A management practice for shallow lakes – greater than 50 acres, less than 15 feet deep – that have been degraded due to increased inflow of nutrient rich water, altered watershed hydrology, algae, and undesirable fish. Deliberately lowering the water levels can help eliminate negative impacts and improve overall lake habitat. This procedure is temporary – usually lasting less than two years – and is often repeated every 8-10 years to maintain water quality and habitat conditions.

When MFCRWD approached Minnesota DNR and Ducks Unlimited about enhancing water quality and habitat on a chain of small lakes, the decision was simple: hit the “reset” button.
This unique partnership of government agencies and nonprofits developeda comprehensive plan, secured funding, public support, and permits to construct multiple water control structures to manage water levels on this lake chain. “When you take a lake ridden with algae and ‘rough fish’, draw it down with a water control structure,” John says, “then see it come
Clearwater with a lot of vegetation and heavy bird use – with different waterfowl during both spring and fall migration – that’s a real, tangible benefit.

SHALLOW LAKE DRAWDOWN

SHALLOW LAKE DRAWDOWN

Photo by Douglas Gayeton

SHALLOW LAKE DRAWDOWN

SHALLOW LAKE DRAWDOWN
A management practice for shallow lakes—under 50 acres, less than 15 feet deep—that have been degraded due to increased inflow of nutrient-rich water, altered watershed hydrology, algae, and undesirable fish. Deliberately lowering water levels can help eliminate negative impacts and improve overall lake health. This procedure is seen as temporary—usually lasting less than two years—and is often repeated every 8-10 years to maintain water quality and habitat conditions.

FISH BARRIERS + DRAWDOWN
Tools used to restore a lake's ecological functions by lowering undesirable fish populations and thereby stimulating aquatic plant growth

WATER CONTROL STRUCTURE
Opening a 24” pipe set in a concrete box culvert can temporarily lower water levels on the Hubbard, Wheeler and Schultz Lake Chain. When open, water gravity flows through a 2,100 ft long pipe, into Kandiyohi County Ditch 28, then downstream into the Middle Fork of the Crow River.

WHEN MFCRWD APPROACHED MINNESOTA DNR AND DUCKS UNLIMITED ABOUT ENHANCING WATER QUALITY AND HABITAT ON A CHAIN OF SMALL LAKES, THE DECISION WAS SIMPLE: HIT THE 'RESET' BUTTON.
This unique partnership of government agencies and nonprofits developed a comprehensive plan, then secured funding, public support, and permits to construct multiple water control structures to manage water levels on this lake chain. “When you take a lake ridden with algae and ‘rough fish’, draw it down with a water control structure,” John says, “Then see it come back to clearwater with a lot of vegetation and heavy bird use — with different waterfowl during both spring and fall migration—that's a real, tangible benefit.”

Post to Lake Drawdown