Lake Wakanda Enhancement Project
$921,000 in the first year is to the commissioner of natural resources for an agreement with Kandiyohi County to enhance aquatic habitat within and adjacent to Lake Wakanda in Kandiyohi County. A list of proposed land enhancements must be provided as part of the required accomplishment plan.
Protected, restored, and enhanced shallow lakes and wetlands - The Lake Wakanda Enhancement Project will improve 1,754-acres of critical shallow lake habitat. Construction of the water control structures and fish barriers will allow for management practices to promote native aquatic plant abundance and enhance the wildlife habitat and fishery. As a Migratory Waterfowl Feeding and Resting Area, Lake Wakanda will be added to the list of ongoing projects to meet the goals of the Minnesota Department of Natural Resource's Long-Range Duck Recovery Plan and Shallow Lakes Program Plan. In accordance with the Cooperative Lake Wakanda Enhancement Plan lake surveys will be conducted by the Minnesota DNR..
Kandiyohi County's Lake Wakanda Enhancement Project is a one-time funding request to construct four water control structures and fish barriers. This comprehensive project will protect and enhance critical fish and wildlife habitat on the 1,754-acre shallow lake. Located at the headwaters of the South Fork of the Crow River, which flows into the Mississippi, Lake Wakanda is part of a prairie chain of lakes near Willmar, Minnesota. Using a systems approach, Kandiyohi County will maximize recent watershed improvements and current investments of cooperating partners to enhance Lake Wakanda's fish, wildlife and non-game habitat.
Lake Wakanda is a state-designated waterfowl feeding and resting area and provides habitat for waterfowl, migratory shorebirds, colonial nesting birds, fur-bearing animals, fish and other species. The lake is primarily managed for sport fishing/angling and stocked with walleyes by Minnesota DNR and local sportsmen groups. Its watershed covers approximately 39 square miles—a watershed to lake ratio of 14:1. It is susceptible to high nutrient inputs and excessive water levels from agricultural and municipal runoff. These influences create high turbidity, providing optimal conditions for undesirable fish species, such as the Common Carp. The high density of carp exacerbates Lake Wakanda's poor habitat and water quality. This shallow lake is currently hypereutrophic and supports very little aquatic plant growth, which suppresses desirable species abundance. The scope of Kandiyohi County's Lake Wakanda Shallow Lake Enhancement Project is to build a series of water control structures and fish barriers at four locations: • Public water course on the south side of Lake Wakanda, connecting to Big Kandiyohi Lake, a 2,692-acre recreational lake. The sheet-pile weir will have removable stop-logs and a fish barrier.• Replacement of Fleckten's Bridge, a former cart-way crossing, with a concrete box culvert connecting to the east bay of Lake Wakanda, leading to Little Kandiyohi Lake. The fabricated culvert will include removable stop-logs and a fish barrier.• Replacement of an existing County Road #8 sheet-pile structure with a new fish barrier. Its purpose is to control fish movement from downstream lakes and streams entering Wakanda. • Construction of a road safe culvert and fish barrier along County Road 123 to isolate fish from the west bay of Lake Wakanda, a designated bay for wildlife.Priorities were determined by cooperating partners consisting of local resource managers and citizens. The Kandiyohi County Lake Wakanda Enhancement Project uses The Cooperative Enhancement Plan for Lake Wakanda (see attachment) as its source for its three primary goals:(1) To address the ecosystem and critical lake habitat needs for aquatic plant life, waterfowl, shorebirds, other game and non-game species and a healthy diverse fish community; (2) To construct two variable crest water control structures with fish barriers and two stand-alone fish barriers at two shallow bays; (3) To enhance fish and wildlife habitat through active management and provide greater recreational opportunities for the public. The Project's team of ten partners is committed to enhancing the habitat and ecosystem diversity in Lake Wakanda. Improvements will address aquatic habitat and water quality while positively affecting its prairie chain of lakes—Eleanor, Little Kandiyohi, Kasota, Swan, Minnetaga, Big Kandiyohi and Lillian. Given the synergy of the partners and current investments, the group feels strongly in-lake tools are now necessary to optimize efforts. Local support to manage water levels on Lake Wakanda is overwhelming. Legal action to drawdown water levels is secured through Minnesota Statute 103G.408. Land rights necessary for construction are secured by the County. Preliminary construction along with the operation and maintenance plans are complete. This project is ready to go.