Fountain Lake Fish Barriers, Phase 1

Project Details by Fiscal Year
2010 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
Fund Source
Outdoor Heritage Fund
Shell Rock River Watershed District
Recipient Type
Local/Regional Government
Start Date
July 2009
End Date
June 2012
Activity Type
Land Acquisition
Counties Affected
Project Overview

This program will install fish barriers at (3) three locations on in the Watershed District to exclude carp and other rough fish that destroy fish habits and aquatic vegetation and stir-up phosphorous rich sediments that cause algal blooms and cause water quality impairments. The project will allow for effective carp control in an effort to improve fish habitat, fish spawning and habitat for waterfowl and other wildlife. Improving the fish habitat has a clear and measurable residual value in improving water quality and aquatic vegetation. These projects are provided for in the Districts Ten year plan and complement the work completed on the Edgewater Land-fill project and provide a crucial step in the overall lake management of Fountain Lake and Albert Lea Lake.

About the Issue

The Districts Chain of Lakes are highly visible, heavily used urban lake that forms the center of the City of Albert Lea.? The Chain of Lakes in these project forms the upper headwater area of the Shell Rock River Watershed.? The District is the headwater for the impaired waters of the Shell Rock River, which eventually drains into the Mississippi River.?

The Shell Rock River Watershed District Clean Water Initiative encompasses 246 square miles in Freeborn ounty and includes 11 lakes that drain to the Shell Rock River which flows into the Cedar River.? Water Qaulity in mahy of the Lakes and waterways is poor due to high turbidity largely caused by carp.

Water quality in this Chain of Lakes has been assessed to be poor due to high turbidity, excessive nutrients and the lack of rooted aquatic vegetation resulting in algai blooms, oxygen depletion and water quality impairments.? Studies conducted in similar shallow lakes and fish population assessments in these lakes have shown that high populations of Common Carp, other species and bottom feeding rough fish consume rooted aquatic vegetation, stir up phosphorous ruch sediments and increases turbidity, reduce light penetratio and cause algae blooms responsible for oxygen delpetion.? Assessments of these lakes's carp population has determined that the large population of foraging rough fish is detrimental to the ecolocy of the lake having adverse affects on shoreline and littoral habitat for destroying hydrophytic vegetation, game fish, spawning habitat, waterfowl nesting, breeding and feeding habitat and is adversely affecting fish, migratory bird and waterfowl, mammal and invertebrate populations in the entore area.?

The project proposed to control carp by preventing upstream and downstream migration of the fish by installing fish barriers.? The SRRWD project would install electrical fish barriers at the two inlets for Fountain Lake located at the Wedge Creek inlet and White Lake inlet.? Installing mechanical fish barrier at the utlet of Fountain Lake in Downtown Alber Lea.

Controling the carp population will also enhance the fisheries of the lakes.? The increase in nutrients and algai growth caused by the actions of carp can cause the bottom waters of lakes to lose oxygem during both the sumer and winter months.? Thsi can cause stress in native fish species and even fish kills where entire populations are destroyed.? Controlling the carp population can help reduce the stress on the naive fish species.?

Upon installation of the barriers, a treatment will be applied and water clarity will increase from a few inches to meters.? The lake will then be stocked with fame fish.?

The Fountain Lake fish barriers will complement similar fish barriers installed in 2008 on Mud Lake, up-gradient of Fountain Lake.

The anticipated outcomes will restore and enhance the water quality, rooted aquatic vegetation, fish and widlife habitat and will increase and enhance the community use of this important recreational resource in the center of Albert Lea.? The strategy of carp/rough fish control and exclusion is know to be effective and is a program endorsed and being conducted with technical assistance and cooperation with DNR Fisherie and Wildlife Divisions and the MN PCA.? he fish barriers will be installed in cooperation with the City of Albert Lea and MN DNR efforst to eradicate the existig carp population and re-indroduce game fish (sunfish, crappie, bass, and northerns).? Water quality improvements and habitat restoration and enhancements are anticipated as soon as the carp are eradicated and prevented from re-entering Fountain Lake.? Visible and measurable effects are anticipated within 2-3 years.

Fountain Lake has public access and is open to public fishing, hunting and trapping during the regular open season.? The fish barrier project has been identified as a high priority in the SRRWD Management Plan, a plan developed with public participation nod subject to public review and approval by the SRRWD Board.? There are no known opponents or anticipated barriers to completion of the project.? The project will be highly visible and is seen as a benefit to the entire community. ?

Legal Citation / Subdivision
ML 2009, Ch. 172, Art. 1, Sec. 2, Subd. 5(f)
Appropriation Language

$655,000 in fiscal year 2010 is to the commissioner of natural resources for an agreement with the Shell Rock River Watershed District to construct fish barriers at three locations on Fountain Lake. Land acquisition necessary for fish barrier construction is permitted. A list of proposed projects, describing the types and locations of barriers, must be provided as part of the required accomplishment plan. The commissioner of natural resources must agree to each proposed barrier.

2010 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
Other Funds Leveraged
Direct expenses
Administration costs
Number of full time equivalents funded
Measurable Outcome(s)

Restored 3 shallow lakes, protect 20 miles of habitat buffers along streams

Source of Additional Funds

local option 2009 sales tax

Project Manager
First Name
Last Name
Organization Name
Shell Rock River Watershed District
Street Address
411 S. Broadway
Albert Lea
Zip Code
(507) 377-5785
Administered By
Administered by

500 Lafayette Road
St. Paul, MN 55155

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