WILLMAR -- High water levels buffeted by stiff spring winds have caused extensive damage to the northeast shoreline on Big Kandiyohi Lake.
Photos show sandy banks caving away, retaining walls tumbling down and decks and patios ready to fall into the lake on nearly 75 private properties.
A shoreline fire ring at Kandiyohi County Park 2 is nothing but a deep sink hole with additional damage on the county's 300 feet of park lakeshore.
Ethan Jenzen, area hydrologist with the state Department of Natural Resources, told the Kandiyohi County Board of Commissioners on Tuesday that quick action is needed to make repairs so that additional erosion does not occur.
To expedite repairs, the Kandiyohi County Commissioners accepted an offer by the DNR for a general flood repair permit for Big Kandi Lake, located in the southeastern part of the county.
Jenzen said by issuing the permit to the county, Big Kandi Lake residents can make erosion repairs without going through the usual red tape of seeking individual permits.
Property owners will, however, have to go through the process of meeting with the county planning and zoning office to coordinate projects and make sure the planned repairs meet county and DNR requirements.
Property owners could not simply start dumping rocks on the shoreline, said County Administrator Larry Kleindl. No lakeshore restoration can take place without contacting the county zoning office, he said, even with the DNR general permit in place.
The commissioners also agreed Tuesday to temporarily waive the county permit fees for shoreline erosion control repairs.
"This is very good news," said Commissioner Harlan Madsen, who said he's fielded about 30 calls from residents concerned about the damage. The general DNR permit will be a "tremendous tool," he said.
Commissioner Richard Larson voted against waiving the permit fee -- not because he didn't support the plan but because he thought the fee waiver should be offered to people on other lakes in the county.
"It isn't fair to others," Larson said.
While erosion is happening on other lakes, Kleindl said Big Kandi is the only one with "massive" erosion. "Because of the type of damage done to this lake, I'd say it is fair," he said.
Eric Van Dyken, from the county's planning and zoning office, said the large-scale erosion won't just affect property owners but also the water quality of the lake.
Van Dyken said a public meeting will be held next week to inform Big Kandi Lake residents about making erosion control repairs. Letters will be sent with the time and location of the meeting.
In other action:
- The county agreed to accept the donation of a 3½-acre parcel of land from the Department of Transportation that will be incorporated into nearby property owned by the Prairie Woods Environmental Learning Center. The property is located near state Highway 23 by the Glacial Lakes bike trail.
- The commissioners approved resolutions to request an advancement of state aid funds that will be used on county road projects in New London and Atwater. The county also approved cooperative road construction resolutions for cost-sharing of projects in New London, Atwater, Willmar and Raymond that involves a combination of county and city funds.
- Minnerath Construction of Cold Spring had the low bid of $1,063,813 for a grading project on County Road 8. The engineer's estimate was $1,144,444. There were six bids for the project.
- Voss Concrete & Masonry of Paynesville had the low bid of $53,899 for a project to replace a bridge in Lake Andrew Township. The engineer's estimate was $84,968. There were eight bids for the project.
- Breaking from past policy, the commissioners agreed to pay for electricity for additional lights at two busy intersections on U.S. Highway 71 but said they would not provide maintenance to the lights, which would be installed by MnDOT at County Roads 10 and 40. The local townships currently pay for electricity for one set of lights at each of the intersections.
- The commissioners rejected all three bids that were submitted in February for a 40-acre parcel of county land near Lake Calhoun.