Watershed to hold meeting on Albert Lea Lake dam

Published 12:00 am Thursday, July 13, 2006

By Kari Lucin, staff writer

Mounting costs of feasibility studies, a false step in the planning process and the need for public input have prompted the Shell Rock River Watershed District to hold a stakeholders’ meeting and workshop regarding the Albert Lea Lake dam.

Though the workshop is not yet scheduled, invitations will be extended to the advisory committee and any citizens concerned with the project.

&8220;A lot of people have expressed interest in the outlet for all that water. They would like to see it as a place to go to, not a place to go by,&8221; said former watershed manager Ken Nelson. &8220;To narrow the dam from what it is today is ridiculous.&8221;

Nelson, in his final monthly watershed board meeting in June, advocated a 140-foot dam to replace the currently-existing 120 foot dam, rather than the 114-foot dam a Wenck Associates study suggested.

The previous feasibility studies from Wenck cost $81,000 and yielded a dam plan that the board unanimously decided was unsatisfactory because of its lack of carp control structures and narrow width.

Taking another look at the cost of adding carp control and lengthening the dam will cost an estimated $9,000 to $10,000.

Actual engineering costs on the project are estimated at $270,000, and that does not include the cost of any previous or future feasibility study.

In other news, the watershed board:

– Will make committee appointments final at its August meeting. The Sales Tax Committee has been eliminated, as has the Wedge Creek Committee.

– Heard from administrator Brett Behnke about funding and design options for the Pestorious water retention pond. The board decided to have a workshop and stakeholders’ meeting on the issue.

– Noted that a residential construction site on the north end of Lakewood Avenue keeps allowing its silt fence to fall over, causing sediment to wash into the lake easily. Behnke asked board members to keep an eye on the property.

– Listened to a report on the fish barrier for Pickerel Creek from Minnesota Department of Natural Resources official Hugh Valiant. Ducks Unlimited has submitted

a plan for the barrier, and now the DNR must get flowage easements from the landowners who will be affected by the change in water flow. The project’s estimated cost is $90,000.

– Hired Hayward City Clerk Carmen Christensen as its new accountant.