Aeration will be back on in Lake Wakanda this winter
WILMAR -- The ongoing debate of how to manage Lake Wakanda took another turn Tuesday. For the last several years the Kandiyohi County Board of Commissioners has been hearing about the deteriorating water quality and the presence of undesirable fi...
WILMAR -- The ongoing debate of how to manage Lake Wakanda took another turn Tuesday.
For the last several years the Kandiyohi County Board of Commissioners has been hearing about the deteriorating water quality and the presence of undesirable fish such as carp in the shallow lake.
Commissioners have also heard different perspectives on whether the lake located in the southern part of the county is best designated for waterfowl or fish and have heard different opinions on the best way to manage the lake.
Last month the commissioners voted to not turn on the aerator on Lake Wakanda this winter, in order to promote a fish kill.
The county's 2007 budget does not include the $3,000 allocation to pay the electric bill for the aerator.
But on Tuesday, Board Chairman Dean Shuck said the board "jumped the gun" to turn off the aeration this year.
Commissioner Harlan Madsen, who represents the Lake Wakanda area, has been ill and wasn't at the last meeting. He wasn't pleased that the board took action to eliminate the aeration when he wasn't able to voice his opinion.
Madsen said he did not support turning off the aeration on the lake.
Commissioner Richard Falk said he apologized to Madsen in a phone conversation for initiating the Lake Wakanda action when Madsen was absent. But during the meeting Falk then criticized Madsen for basing his decision on votes and campaign politics, and not on what was "best for Lake Wakanda." Madsen is running for re-election against Andrew Lindquist.
Madsen vehemently denied the accusation. The board voted 4-1 to reinstate aeration this winter on Lake Wakanda, with Falk casting the lone no vote.
Commissioner Richard Larson said that since the board didn't include Lake Wakanda in the budget, another part of the budget would have to be reduced by $3,000.
He suggested it should come from the commissioners' salaries.
Madsen said reserve funds could be used.
Falk also questioned Bruce Gilbertson, from the Department of Natural Resources, on data he presented about lake clarity in county lakes that are aerated and those that aren't. Gilbertson said surveys taken during "the dog days of summer" this year indicate the clarity is better in aerated lakes. Falk said the lakes aren't comparable and the data were not accurate.
Falk also asked why the fish barrier in Lake Wakanda has gone unrepaired for at least two years, allowing undesirable fish to swim around the structure and enter the lake.
Gilbertson said Ducks Unlimited has agreed to participate in the project, but that because of that organization's heavy workload, the new barrier won't be installed until next year. He also said it's premature to install the barrier before decisions are made to restore the upstream Grass Lake.
Falk said reasons for not installing the structure now were "gobbledygook."
Madsen said temporary repairs could be made until the new structure is completed.
Gilbertson, who submitted a draft plan for managing Lake Wakanda, reported that the number and weight of walleye in Lake Wakanda are well above normal and the black bullhead are well below normal for a lake like Wakanda. But, he said, the number and weight of carp are above normal.
In other action Tuesday:
- The board agreed to restart the process for renaming Mud Lake, in northern Kandiyohi County, to "Monongalia." The County Board approved the change in 1969, but the action was never completed. A public hearing will be Nov. 7 on the name change proposal.
- The board approved a bid of $128,291 from R & R Excavating from Hutchinson for a grading and aggregate base project on County Road 127. There were eight bids for the project. All were below the engineer's estimate of $175,091.
- The 2007 budget was approved for the Kandiyohi County and City of Willmar Economic Development Commission. The revenue is $500,000 with the levy set at $455,000. Expenditures are $499,594.
- The board heard a report on the county's child support program, which had a total cost of $844,114. Because the program met federal standards in several areas, the county received federal performance incentive funding on top of regular funds. The county's share of the cost was $126,833, which is 15 percent of the total cost. The program establishes paternity and collects court-ordered child support payment from non-custodial parents.