Grant garnered for Goose Lake

Published 11:55 am Thursday, November 29, 2012

The Shell Rock River Watershed District has been awarded a $395,000 state grant to install an electric fish barrier at the outlet of Goose Lake.

Watershed district officials said the barrier will prevent invasive fish, including carp, from migrating upstream into the lake. As a result, this will prohibit the fish from spawning and repopulating in the lakes downstream, according to a news release.

Brett Behnke

Carp and other rough fish destroy aquatic vegetation and increase algae growth, resulting in substandard water quality.

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The grant came through the Conservation Partners Legacy Grant program, which is funded through the Outdoor Heritage Fund. The fund receives one-third of the money raised by the Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment.

The grant is administered by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Fish and Wildlife Division.

“We are very pleased to receive this grant,” said Watershed District Administrator Brett Behnke. “The project is an important part of our comprehensive approach to improve water quality in Goose Lake, Albert Lea Lake and Fountain Lake.”

The fish barrier will likely be constructed in the spring.

Project Manager Andy Henschel said after the barrier is in place, the second part of the project is to team up with the DNR to eradicate all fish species in Goose Lake.

Behnke said this will likely take place next fall.

Afterward, DNR and watershed officials will re-introduce game fish such as bluegill, perch and northern pike, which will in turn re-populate the lake with game fish.

Behnke said the project will complement the existing fish barriers installed on Wedge Creek, Mud Lake and Lake Chapeau, which is also known as White Lake.

“We hope to see immediate and dramatic habitat benefits within a year of construction,” Henschel said.

The release stated the fish barrier project is part of a multi-pronged approach to watershed and lake reclamation in the district.

Eliminating rough fish and restoring the lakes will enhance aquatic vegetation and waterfowl habitat, restore a healthy game fish community and improve water quality, according to the release.

The Shell Rock River Watershed District grant was one of 24 grants awarded through the fund.