Restoring Water Quality in Bald Eagle Lake, Minnesota

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Using adaptive watershed and lake management

Introduction

Lake restoration can be a frustrating endeavor, with managers and stakeholders spending countless hours and millions of dollars often achieving only small, incremental changes in their lake’s water quality. Because of the often-undetectable changes in water quality during the restoration process, stakeholders routinely ask for examples of successful lake restorations to ensure they are on the right path. The restoration of Bald Eagle Lake is a success story where the perseverance and dedication of the Rice Creek Watershed District (RCWD), the Bald Eagle Area Association (BEAA), and local stakeholders paid off in immediate and significant improvements in water quality and lake ecology. The path to restoration for Bald Eagle Lake was not without its trials and tribulations, including high restoration costs and difficult decision points throughout the process. Some of the challenges included determining when watershed phosphorus load reduction opportunities were exhausted, deciding on the appropriate time to turn to in-lake management, and practicing patience, waiting to see results after spending millions of hard-earned dollars in restoration costs. The path to success required strong stakeholder support, a dedicated project sponsor, and innovative technical leadership to reach aggressive restoration goals. Years of hard work and dedication culminated in one of the premiere lake restoration success stories in the Twin Cities Metropolitan Area (TCMA).

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Credit to NALMS LakeLine. Special thanks to Rice Creek Watershed District. 

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Joe Bischoff

Wenck

Joe Bischoff

Aquatic Ecologist/Principal