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Feb 04

Extreme Cold = Water Quality?

Posted on February 4, 2019 at 5:07 PM by Ryan Hiniker

Drainage update 2/4/2019


Upcoming Drainage Hearings or Meetings:

  • JD15 LES (Jamestown Twp.)  We will be hosting an informational landowner meeting on February 7, 2019, to discuss multiple items about this public drainage system.  Landowners should have received notice via mail.  The details of time, location and discussion items are included in the landowner letters.  Those with questions or concerns before the meeting can contact us. 
  • JD15 LES (Jamestown Twp.)  We will be hosting a Redetermination of Benefits Hearing.  This meeting will be held in the Historic Blue Earth County Courthouse in the Board of Commissioners meeting room on the second floor.  Landowners affected by this should have received notice via mail.  Landowner letters will have specific time, date and location details.  Please call or email with additional questions.

Project Updates:


  • All projects and repairs are on hold until Spring thaw.  Dangerous weather conditions and the large amount of frost have things shut down.  Please don’t be afraid to keep reporting issues with our public drainage systems.  The sooner issues are reported, the sooner they can get put on a list for repair this Spring.


Arctic Temps, Good for Water Quality:

While the extreme cold temps recently aren’t the most fun to deal with, are they beneficial to our Minnesota lakes?  An article that I read recently suggest that they could be.  Extreme cold temps do have positive impacts on water quality and native fish species in our northern lakes.

The colder and more extreme the temps, the thicker the lake ice gets.  Subzero temps can add 3 plus inches of ice thicknesses to a lake daily.  The thicker ice has multiple benefits.  Some of the native fish species of northern Minnesota prefer colder water temps.  Brook Trout, Lake Trout and Herring are just a few of the native species that prefer the cooler water temps.  It’s also said that the cooler water will help keep the invasive fish species population down.  Other invasive aquatic species like Zebra Mussels might find it tougher in the very cold winters, where at some of our lakes, the ice will freeze to the bottom in the shallow areas.  Although with most invasive species, they learn to adapt to our climate and adapt to changing weather and water conditions.

Algae and warmer water temps also seem to go hand-in-hand.  It can be reasoned the thicker the ice, the longer the lake stays colder, and hopefully the less issues with weeds and algae growth.  To truly do any sort of real damage to our algae and weed populations, the ice would have to freeze deep enough to reach the bottom in the shallower parts of a lake. 

Another advantage, researchers say, to colder temps and thicker ice is, they are finding less evaporation so lakes maintain a more even water elevation.  The theory is that the longer the thick ice can stay covering the lake, the less chance of evaporation because the ice seals moisture in.

We as humans might not enjoy the benefits of subzero temps and arctic blasts, but it does have its hidden benefits in our Minnesota ecosystem.
Twenty (plus or minus) miles out on Lake of The Woods ice fishing this year.


Recent Drainage Inspections – week of January 28 – February 1:

  • CD86 (Decoria Twp.)  Crews are trying to make repairs to an area of tile.  The extreme cold has halted work until it warms up again.
  • CD35 (Mapleton Twp.)  Monitoring open ditch.

We require that all repairs to a county drainage system (tile or open ditch) be authorized by one us in the drainage office, either Craig or myself, before any repairs are made.




Ryan Hiniker

Drainage Management Specialist