Website Refresh

Our website is in the process of being freshened up, which will include bringing the content up to date.

Please check back with us for the latest LRLA news and consider becoming a member.

Data supports drawdown

Recent research reflects concepts in understanding lake phosphorus and changes in their 'state'. 

Vitense, K., M.A. Hanson, B.R. Herwig, K.D. Zimmer, and J. Fieberg. 2019.

Predicting total phosphorus levels as indicators for shallow lake management. Ecological Indicators 96:278-287. This recent study suggests that phosphorus levels can determine the potential success of shallow lake management such as drawdowns. Little Rock Lake total phosphorus (TP) levels were once as high as 600 parts per billion (ppb) in 2006. Thanks to aggressive efforts by both Morrison and Benton county Soil, Water Conservation Districts, working with cooperative agricultural producers, that level is now down to less than 130 ppb in 2017. The study used classifications of TP of less than 50 ppb and greater than 50 ppb. Some lakes higher than 350 ppb were found to have a permanent turbid state, while lakes with less than 50 ppb were in a permanently clear state. Little Rock Lake sits at the lower end of the spectrum of what is known as a "bi-stable state". As suggested in the study " These estimates provide valuable information to managers because a lake’s TP level in relation to the tipping points has implications for identifying effective management actions. Clear lakes with TP levels consistently below the lower tipping point are highly resilient, and management efforts for these lakes should typically focus on watershed and shoreline protection. Highly dynamic lakes with TP levels frequently in the bistable region are those for which active in-lake management, such as water level drawdowns or fish removal, is most sensible."  

Other drawdowns happening around Minnesota

 Another common question was asked during the process of planning: Has a drawdown like this been done before anywhere? Quite a few have been done around Minnesota, however, each system and situation is unique. In the early 2000s, the Mississippi River near the Iowa state line had a few pools that were drawn down to improve waterfowl and fish habitat. Lake Orono (near Elk River) had a winter drawdown done to help an excavation project and minimize curly-leaf pondweed. Lakes Freeborn, Fulda, and Long in southern Minnesota have had drawdowns for various purposes with impressive results. Major water clarity improvements were observed, which increases invaluable emergent plant growth as well. Lakes Ocheda and High Island, also in southern Minnesota, are in the process of planning drawdowns in the near future. Interestingly, many well-known lakes north-central Minnesota, are currently experiencing a drought cycle. This lower water level has allowed plants like wild rice, bulrush, and cattail to expand in the shallow flats. This validates the presumption that a drawdown is intended to simulate a drought cycle. 

For more information and to stay up to date on the DNR efforts of the drawdown go to: 

New Board of Director and Membership Meeting Schedule

Board of Directors and Membership meetings will resume in April of 2019 for the summer (second Saturday of each month). There will be no BOD or Membership meetings this winter. As always, stay tuned and watch the news section of the web site, the newsletter, and Facebook for updates.    

Community Meeting Regarding Delayed Drawdown: Friday, August 3, 2018 @ 7:00 PM. Lake View Center.

The community is invited to a meeting regarding the drawdown delay. A presentation and Q / A will follow. 

2018: Drawdown Delayed

The Little Rock Lake Association a volunteer non-profit organization dedicated to restore and maintain the Little Rock Lake Watershed was advised by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources that the planned drawdown for August 1st, 2018 will be delayed. 

The drawdown of Little Rock Lake and the Mississippi River north of Sartell will be postponed for a year due to a need for a further review to satisfy federal requirements, according to the Minnesota DNR. Because the Sartell dam that would be opened to allow the drawdown is a hydropower dam overseen by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), a thorough review of potential impacts to cultural and historical resources is required before the project can proceed. Due to miscommunications, the historical-cultural review that was done did not meet strict federal requirements. 

Large projects always have many moving parts in them. Federal review of projects (Due to FERC) becomes even more complicated. The Sartell Dam is a FERC regulated dam. As such, any changes in operational procedure require extensive Cultural resource review. The State Historical Preservation Office (SHPO) needed unanticipated, additional consultation from several cultural resources, for the project to go forward. While all approvals were met for a normal state run project, the federal process is lengthier and some levels of miscommunication were also present. As a result, the drawdown for 2018 has been postponed until the same time frame (August 1-September 15) in 2019. This will allow FERC, Eagle Creek, MNDNR, SHPO Little Rock Lake Association and Benton SWCD to obtain adequate review of this project for 2019. 

“For a couple years now, a lot of agencies and people have been working toward the goals of better water quality and habitat that this drawdown would bring about, so this delay is certainly disappointing,” said Eric Altena, the DNR fisheries supervisor who has spearheaded the project. “It’s only a temporary setback, though. We’ll be back next summer with everything in order and set to go for the same timeframe.”There are efforts being made to still try and accomplish some portions of the project. However, plans have not been solidified. We will do our best to keep residents and users informed. 

Your volunteer Little Rock Lake Association Board of Directors remain committed to better watershed health and will continue to be involved in the drawdown and advocate for Little Rock Lake. Please watch the Little Rock Lake Association web site and Facebook for continued updates.  

2018: PICNIC Results

A very successful picnic this year!  The silent auction, live auction, donated glass picture raffle, lunch and water donations and T-shirts/hat sales and membership drive were a big hit!  Fund raising continues to reach our goal of $60,000+. 

We'd like to thank EVERYONE for contributing and coming to the picnic and enjoying the afternoon. A big thank you to our Picnic committee for a job well done, fantastic! 

Congratulations on board elections: 

Corrine Jacobs for her re-election to the board as a director, Kellie Gahllager re-elected as President, and our two new secretaries who are going to split the position; Renee Seviola and Amy  Claude ! 

A special thank you to our large and corporate donors: 

$30,000 Eagle Creek Renewable Energy

$10,000 Rice Sportsman's Club

$10,000 Benton Communications

$10,000 East Central Electric Grant (pending)

$ 5,000 Sauk Rapids Sportsman's Club

$ 3,000 Watab Township

$ 2,000 Langola Township

$ 1,000 Go Fund Me

$ 1,000 Carp Contest

$    500 St Stephen's Legion

$    500+Sheppard of the Pines Church

$    500 Community Donations

Please also thank our partners who have contributed time and materials to the drawdown: 

AIS Task Force: $25,000 for plants

Score Grant: $10,000 for clean up 

Totally Stitchin': T-shirts for the clean up crews

Pizza Ranch: for the Picnic Food

Rice Fire Department: Emergency department services and T-shirts

Community Members: for donations to feed the Boy Scouts

Benton County: Use of the Campground and Lakeview Center

The farming community for continued progress on BMP's. 

Eric Altena (MNDNR), Amanda Guertin (Benton SWCD) 

Thank you !! The LRLA Board of Directors thanks you for your support !

Results of the Drawdown hearing

We had a great turnout for the drawdown hearing March 28th, More than 150 people showed up to learn the latest information and ask pertinent questions about the process, funding, plant growth, and fish concerns, among several others. A summary of the most common questions and concerns can be found on the drawdown website Video clips from the meeting are available here on the Little Rock Lake Association Facebook Page. The cooperative project with Benton County Soil, Water and Conservation District (SWCD), Little Rock Lake Association, Eagle Creek Energy and MNDNR has been described in the news several times and will take place August 1-September 15 - 2018. Please feel free to contact Eric Altena using the information below if you have further questions. 

Eric AltenaMNDNR Area Fisheries Manager Little Falls 


320-616-2450 x225 

For more information and to read about specific issues discussed click on this link:

 There will be no December 2017 Board of Director or Membership meeting due to the holiday

 The Board of Directors and the Membership Meetings are cancelled for December 2017. Updates will be put in the December newsletter.

 Oct 2017 Newsletter

Read the October 2017 Newsletter

Little Rock Lake Community 2018 Drawdown Information Sessions

Come and learn about the proposed Little Rock Lake 2018 drawdown and have your questions answered by the experts. The LRLA will be hosting two informational sessions on Friday, August 11th, 7 pm, and Wednesday, September 27th, 7 pm, both sessions will be held at the Watab Township Hall.   The DNR, LRLA, Eagle Creek Renewable Energy, and Benton County Soil and Water will be on hand to present and answer your questions.  Join us for coffee, conversation, and let's talk about what is on your mind and what questions you might have.

View more
©  2017 Little Rock Lake Association