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Posted on April 1, 2019 at 6:25 PM by Ryan Hiniker
Drainage update 4/1/2019
Upcoming Drainage Hearings or Meetings:
This last winter delivered record-breaking cold temps and record-breaking snowfall totals, but it has also been hard on everyone and everything. Our county drainage systems aren’t the only things that have taken this seemingly never-ending winter not so well.
If you are a fellow outdoors person and you have been out looking at some of the local lakes, you have probably noticed a pattern on some of these smaller, shallower lakes. Dead fish - way more than normal numbers of dead fish. This is not an uncommon thing with some of our shallow local lakes.
So, why does this smelly phenomenon occur? Fish species are like us; they depend on oxygen to breathe. Fish source their dissolved oxygen from the water. In the winter time, oxygen levels in shallow lakes can deplete especially quickly. With a sheet of ice on the surface of the lake, and then throw snow on top of that, aquatic species of plants have a hard time gathering sunlight. The aquatic species of plants produce an oxygen source for fish through the plant’s natural photosynthesis process. The major component to the photosynthesis process is light as an energy source to help the plants complete this process.
An interesting article put out not so long ago spoke about this issue and how severe it could be this Spring because of our winter. The article included comments from local MN DNR (Minnesota Department of Natural Resources) fisheries personnel that spoke about how they like to see these fish kill situations on some of shallow lakes. The DNR said the reason that they prefer the fish kill occasionally is because many of these shallow lakes are used as nursery ponds for their fingerlings (small baby fish). DNR staff will put tons of fingerlings into these shallow lakes and then try to harvest them to repopulate other larger lakes. The problem is, they never get all of the fingerlings or baby fish, and those left behind turn into large predator fish. Those predator fish then feed on the next generations of fingerlings.
What can be done when winters are just too long and hard on our fish populations in these shallow lakes? Many small lakes have aerator systems. These are systems that create an artificial way of supplying oxygen to the water column. These aerator pumps are expensive to run because they usually run on electricity. Most of these aerator pumps are paid for by local lake clubs or watershed clubs. Because the costs to operate can add up quickly, the decision to turn these pumps on is usually only in extreme conditions. According to the article, there are 109 aeration systems in Minnesota and that 70 of them were running this past winter. That tells you right there just how extreme this past winter was.
We had the opportunity to get a hands-on demonstration of some fairly new technology being used in the pipe inspection world. Battery operated, completely portable televising machine. We'll try and provide more information in a future DrainageBlog.
Recent Drainage Inspections – week of March 25 – March 29:
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.
Drainage Management Specialist