Watershed Approves Goals

The Shell Rock River Watershed District board of managers established the district's 10-year plan Tuesday morning. The plan includes three main areas. The first is flood retention and mitigation.

Conservation Technician Courtney Christensen said the plan includes projects such as the Stables Area flood mitigation project and creating stormwater retention ponds to alleviate Fountain Lake flooding, and other stormwater management practices.

The second part of the plan is water efficiency. Christensen said this will encourage the community to get involved on watershed district projects, with things such as a rain garden or putting out rain barrels that are designed to collect water from roofs. The excess water can result in water savings by being used to water lawns and gardens.

The third part of the plan is the restoration of wetlands and lakes.

The district is looking to restore Goose Lake starting in the spring of2017. The district has put in an electric fish barrier to prevent rough fish from entering the lake, such as carp, that draw up bottom sediment that leads to a decrease in water quality. The district will draw the lake down to kill the rough fish, then refill the lake. The lake will then be restocked with fish such as perch, northern and bluegills.

The dredging of Fountain Lake is also included in the 10-year plan. Christensen said the 10-year plan allows the district to create goals that can be met through projects. She said the 10-year plan creates a guide for the Watershed District to collaborate on projects with other government entities.

"It's creating goals, an achievable objective goal that can be created by the district," Christensen said. "This shows the district is pro-active and aggressive in conducting projects that are essential to clean water."

Formed in 2003, the Watershed District is required by state statute to operate on 10-year water management plans. With the first established 10-year plan set to expire, the district began its process of updating the second generation plan in early 2015.

"We are extremely proud of the work that we have accomplished in the last 10 years," said District Administrator Brett Behnke in a press release. "We have a lot of success with our projects and are looking forward to continuing this work with our second generation plan, which includes the Fountain Lake dredging project. I would also like to thank all of our partners over the years, including the city of Albert Lea. With the city and the Watershed District working together, everybody benefits and our communities are stronger for it."

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