Watershed Receives Grant to Help Pickerel Lake

Shell Rock River Watershed District officials received a grant last week to improve Pickerel Lake water quality. 

The district received $825,000 May 25 from the Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources to focus on grassed waterways and streambank and wetland restorations to meet the final 10 percent in phosphorous reduction to allow Pickerel Lake to be delisted from the state impaired waters list.

Resource Technician Courtney Christensen said delisting Pickerel Lake is a positive step for water quality.

“It means clean water,” she said, noting the district applied for the grant in March after the Pickerel Lake restoration project was completed in 2009 to ensure the district was meeting standards in chlorophyll and clarity.

Pickerel Lake is 620 acres and has a watershed area of 5,120 acres. Maximum lake depth is 6 feet.

“This latest grant award is the culmination of years of work improving the water and habitat quality at the top of our watershed,” Christensen said in a press release. “This is a win for our community, but especially for our lakes.”

This is the third round of Clean Water Fund grants totaling $8.17 million that helps local governments from across the state in conservation work and taking a targeted approach to address water quality, she said, noting this is the first time the Watershed District has received funding from the source.

“It is our hope that the projects resulting from this grant could be the final step in achieving water quality standards for Pickerel Lake,” she said. “Once water quality standards are consistently met, Pickerel Lake can be removed from the Minnesota impaired waters list.”

Director of Field Operations Andy Henschel said in the press release that removing Pickerel Lake from the list is a key priority for the district, noting he thinks the district has put a lot of time and effort into reclaiming the lake.

The district also received a $1.2 million grant from the annual Lessard-Sams Outdoor Heritage Council last month for the establishment of wetland basins, re-establishment of native vegetation and key targeted land acquisitions to protect habitat.

© 2015 Shell Rock River Watershed District, 305 S 1st Avenue, Albert Lea, MN 56007