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Proposed ‘no wake’ restriction on Middle Lake to be discussed

NEW LONDON -- Those interested in a proposed "no wake" restriction on Middle Lake in Kandiyohi County can attend a public meeting hosted by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources at 7 p.m. Thursday at the Sibley State Park Interpretive Cen...

NEW LONDON - Those interested in a proposed “no wake” restriction on Middle Lake in Kandiyohi County can attend a public meeting hosted by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources at 7 p.m.  Thursday at the Sibley State Park Interpretive Center near New London.
The slow/no wake restriction is being proposed for the following reasons:
• To protect the existing aquatic plant community from the physical disturbances associated with motorized boat traffic.
• To enhance waterfowl habitat and use.
• To increase public safety within a Sibley State Park canoe-friendly area used as a practice route for people heading to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness.
Middle Lake was designated as a wildlife management lake in 2014. This designation status gives the DNR the ability to restrict the use of motorized watercraft as a way to improve and protect wildlife habitat.
Aquatic vegetation is crucial to a healthy shallow lake. Emergent vegetation provides cover and nesting habitat for waterfowl as well as other non-game species of birds. Submerged aquatic plants provide a direct food source for waterfowl and also provide habitat for invertebrates that are an important source of protein for migrating waterfowl.
The proposed restriction is also intended to protect breeding waterfowl and their broods, and to minimize disturbances to feeding and resting wildlife during various life stages including both spring and fall migration. Last, Sibley State Park maintains a canoe portage trail to Middle Lake which is used for canoing and kayaking. A circular canoe route with available portages encompasses Lake Andrew, Middle Lake, Norway Lake, Games Lake as well as Swan and Henchen lakes. This canoe route is advertised as a practice route for people headed to the BWCA. A surface use restriction will help improve this overall experience and provide for a safer environment for inexperienced canoeists.
The DNR recently installed a physical fish barrier along the outlet course of Middle Lake before it enters Lake Andrew to inhibit common carp migration into the basin following natural winter fish mortality. This fish barrier, coupled with the proposed restriction on motorized watercraft, is crucial to improving and protecting waterfowl habitat and water quality by encouraging the growth of vegetation.
Written comments on the proposal will be accepted until March 25. They may be submitted to Cory Netland, area wildlife supervisor, at cory.netland@state.mn.us , or to Josh Kavanagh, wildlife lakes specialist, at joshua.kavanagh@state.mn.us . Both are located at the New London area wildlife office at 398 Sibley Park Road NE, New London, MN 56273. To provide comments by phone, call 320-354-2154.
The revised lake management plan for Middle Lake is available for review at the New London office.
To learn more about surface use restrictions, visit mndnr.gov/regulations/boatwater.

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