Update from Lake Association/DNR Water Level Meeting

Representative Julie Sandstede, Senator David Tomassoni, and St. Louis County Commissioner Paul McDonald were in attendance Thursday night as the DNR presented information regarding the current low-lake levels and the status of the Riverside Dam. There were also over 100 concerned residents in attendance as well.

Watershed and hydrology studies will need to be done before any stop logs can be added or any changes can be made in the currently set lake levels. The current levels are set at the natural run-off elevation, as per studies of our lake chain that were done in the past.

As of right now, the current position of responsibility for this study is vacant within the DNR. However, the statewide hiring freeze has been lifted, and they are actively seeking someone to fill this position. As soon as that position is filled, they will be able to continue going through their list of projects and studies that need to be done, one of which is the Sturgeon Lake Chain.

The DNR did provide two options for us to consider for immediate action:

  • One option is to hire an outside firm to do the hydrological studies needed to move forward with changing the set level of the dam with the potential of putting in extra stop logs.
  • The other is to wait for the process to be handled through the DNR in order of project priorities.

Julie Sandstede and David Tomassoni both expressed frustration and concern. Each are actively seeking solutions and making connections within their government contacts to potentially get some affirmative action, within legislative bounds, to allow for emergency mandates/executive orders regarding drought conditions and extraordinary circumstances so that the we are prepared for instances of drought or flooding and would have options to remedy these problems in the future. Both agreed that organizing and maintaining a strong, local Lake Association would carry some weight with legislators and governing entities to provide a unified voice for concerns and issues in the future.

The Lake Association will be electing new officers for President, Vice President, Secretary, and Treasurer. If you would like to sign-up for the Lake Association, you can stop by their table at the Celebrate Side Lake event on August 19th from 4pm – 7pm. Otherwise, you can contact Matt Specht at 651-315-0403.

Below are the links to the handouts and regulations that the DNR reviewed at the meeting:

Lake Outlet Dams: Brochure

https://files.dnr.state.mn.us/publications/waters/lake_outlet_dams.pdf

General Brochure Site: this site has a lot of other information that may be of interest to lakeshore owners (e.g. boat ramps, docks, shoreland rules, etc.)

https://www.dnr.state.mn.us/publications/waters/index.html#brochures

Statute

https://www.revisor.mn.gov/statutes/cite/103G.407

Rules

https://www.revisor.mn.gov/rules/6115.0220/

https://www.revisor.mn.gov/rules/6115.0221/

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