Accelerated Shallow Lakes and Wetland Enhancement - Phase VIII

Project Details by Fiscal Year
2017 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
Fund Source
Outdoor Heritage Fund
Recipient Type
State Government
End Date
November 2021
Activity Type
Counties Affected
Lake of the Woods
Red Lake
Lake of the Woods
Red Lake
Project Overview

This proposal will accomplish shallow lake and wetland habitat work that will otherwise go unfunded. This work is called for in the Minnesota Prairie Conservation Plan, Long Range Duck Recovery Plan, and Shallow Lakes plan.

Project Details

ML2016 Accelerated Shallow Lakes and Wetland Enhancement Phase 8 entailed three components.
* Engineering, Construction, and/or Management of Individual Shallow Lake/Wetland Projects - Fourteen
individual projects were undertaken with funding from this appropriation. Two of these projects, Swamp Lake
(Aitkin County) and Puposky Lake (Beltrami County), entailed extensive cleanout of outlet channels leading to
better water level management. These projects are necessary when downstream outlets become clogged with
sediment and vegetation and water levels in shallow lakes become abnormally high. Specialized (and expensive)
equipment such as Swamp Devils, Cookie Cutters, or extended-reach excavators, removed accumulated sediments
and other obstructions to surveyed levels. The resulting water elevations return to lower levels and habitat
benefits are often dramatic. Five projects - Clear Lake (Murray County) Eckvoll WMA (Marshall County), Typhoon
WMA (Cottonwood County), Sterle Pool/Sawyer WMA (Carlton County), and Buena Vista (Beltrami County) - were
completed and involved engineering and construction of wetland/shallow lake infrastructure such as dikes and
water control structures. In all of these projects, engineering was done in-house (i.e. DNR engineers) and private
contractors were used for the construction. Finally, seven infrastructure projects were engineered only, with
construction planned for the future. Doing this initial engineering allows us to determine project feasibility,
identify construction obstacles, and obtain accurate cost estimates for materials and construction. While five of
these engineering-only projects were accomplished with in-house engineers, the other two projects were
completed with private engineering consultants, as in-house engineering is becoming more difficult to obtain.
Obtaining needed engineering support is an issue we continue to look at.
*Shallow Lakes Program - The Shallow Lakes Program is a high-visibility program within the DNR Section of
Wildlife that uses single-focused Shallow Lakes Specialists to (1) perform standardized assessments of shallow
lakes and (2) to bring about needed management or infrastructure changes where needed to enhance shallow lake
habitat. Work by these Specialists guides Shallow Lakes work by both DNR Wildlife staff and NGOs. Funding from
this appropriation allowed the addition of three Shallow Lake Specialists who are stationed at Detroit Lakes,
Tower, and Brainerd and provided their funding for three fiscal years - Fy17-FY19. During this time the Specialists
reported doing 183 shallow lake assessments covering 76,602 acres. This assessment work directly leads to
shallow lake project initiation by the DNR and DU to address needed management and infrastructure issues that
lead to enhanced habitat.
* Roving Habitat Crews - Roving Habitat Crews are teams of DNR staff who are equipped and trained to performP a g e 3 | 12
habitat enhancement projects on public lands. Funding from this appropriation was provided to the Region 1
Roving Habitat Crew to enable it to perform wetland enhancement activities through the addition of two roving
crew members and their associated costs for three fiscal years (FY17-FY19). Typical wetland enhancement
activities undertaken by Roving Habitat Crews include prescribed burns of wetlands, removal of invasive species
and trees from wetlands, support of shallow lake drawdowns, and seeding wild rice. The Region 1 Roving Habitat
Crew notably was involved in recent wetland management actions for which acres were reported in other
appropriations and will not be reported in this report to avoid double-counting. Examples include the 7,000+ acre
prescribed wetland burn that was done at Roseau River WMA. The Reg. 1 Roving Habitat Crew initiated, planned,
and led the large effort to do this burn, but the acres were reported in the ML2015 Shallow Lakes and Wetland
Enhancements Phase 7 Final Report, which provided the funding the helicopter that performed the aerial ignition
using a helitorch. Likewise, cattail spraying done with the OHF-funded spray unit on a DNR helicopter used Reg. 1.
Roving Habitat Crew members as ground support staff to load herbicide and refuel the helicopter between spray
flights, a job liked to being an Indy pit crew, but with a running helicopter. Acres for this activity are reported in the
OHF appropriations that fund the helicopter and chemical costs. Finally, the Reg. 1 Roving Habitat Crew stepped in
when Covid-19 hiring restrictions prevented the DNR from hiring season technicians to run the OHF-purchased
airboat on Rice Lake. Reg. 1 crew members volunteered to get the needed airboat training, then worked in shifts to
operate the airboat during the field season. As an added bonus, innovative and mechanically adept Reg. 1 crew
members decided they could improve the airboat cutting attachment. They crafted their own cutters which have
proven more effective than the original equipment.

Legal Citation / Subdivision
ML 2016, Ch. 172, Art. 1, Sec. 2, Subd. 4(e )
Appropriation Language

$2,167,000 the second year is to the commissioner of natural resources to enhance and restore shallow lakes and wetland habitat statewide. A list of proposed land restorations and enhancements must be provided as part of the required accomplishment plan.

2017 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
Other Funds Leveraged
Direct expenses
Administration costs
Number of full time equivalents funded
Measurable Outcome(s)

22,142 enhanced wetland acres

Project Manager
First Name
Last Name
Organization Name
Minnesota Department of Natural Resources
Street Address
500 Lafayette Road Box 20
St. Paul
Zip Code
(651) 259-5227
Administered By
Administered by

500 Lafayette Road
St. Paul, MN 55155

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