Editorial: More info about Geneva Lake

Published 8:56 am Tuesday, July 17, 2012

The locals were wrong about Geneva Lake. Well, at least the ones who contacted the Albert Lea Tribune upset about the lake’s low levels.

The real reason the lake is so low has nothing to do with the dam. It’s because southern Minnesota is in a drought cycle.

The level of the variable-crest dam is the same as it was when the lake had a fixed-crest dam five years ago, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

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It wasn’t left shallower than before. It just is shallower because there isn’t enough water flowing into the lake to fill it up to the level of the dam. The variable crest is used only on the rare occasion of cleaning the lake of bad fish species through a winter kill.

The Tribune gave the Department of Natural Resources a thumbs down Sunday based on what some residents on the lake said. Now, we would like to reverse that thumbs down and say the DNR deserves a thumbs up.

Perhaps some of the residents who live on the lake don’t remember just what a green mess that lake was prior to the new dam the DNR built in December 2006 with assistance from Ducks Unlimited.

And though many northern pike died recently as a result of warm lake water, that fish kill might be good for other fish in that lake and for the northerns.

Geneva Lake is a 1,875-acre, shallow wetland basin with an average depth of about three feet. The old fixed-crest concrete dam, constructed in 1953, did not allow the lake to be drawn down to lower water levels that mimic natural processes.