News release: Informational meeting scheduled to discuss Silver Lake management options

July 31, 2023

Meeting planned for Aug. 17 in Waldorf

An informational meeting is scheduled to discuss management options and gather public input for the development of a habitat enhancement plan for Silver Lake, located near the town of Waldorf in Waseca County. 

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources plans to replace a failed dam at the outlet of Silver Lake. A new dam will restore Silver Lake to water levels previously maintained in the lake. It will also provide the ability for temporary water level management. Modifying water levels through drawdown and reflooding can be used to reduce populations of undesirable fish and reestablish desired aquatic vegetation, which will improve the lake’s water quality.  

Stop logs in the existing dam had been used to maintain the lake 1 to 2 feet deeper than it is currently. In recent decades, the failed dam resulted in substantially lower water levels in Silver Lake, harming aquatic wildlife and the lake plant community.

Habitat conditions for furbearers and other aquatic wildlife have been affected by lower water levels. The depths are insufficient for muskrats and several nongame wildlife species to avoid freeze-out over winter. Over time, continuously lower water levels can also encourage cattails to expand at the expense of sedges, rushes and submerged vegetation. A marshy fringe heavily dominated by cattails lacks important diversity that helps define good wildlife habitat.   

Water quality has been hampered by high populations of common carp that access the lake seasonally. Carp damage important aquatic wildlife habitats by uprooting food and cover plants. They also resuspend fine bottom sediments, causing the water to become more turbid. A fish barrier for the Silver Lake outlet has been recommended to protect the lake from these infestations.

To help ensure Silver Lake remains a productive environment for wildlife, the Minnesota DNR plans to pursue lake management authority that will allow Silver Lake to be managed for water and habitat quality as outlined in a comprehensive management plan. The Aug. 17 public meeting will be followed by a formal public hearing this fall. 

People can ask questions and provide input at a public meeting scheduled for 6:30 p.m., Thursday, Aug. 17 at the Waldorf Community Center, 109 South Main St., Waldorf, MN 56091. Interested parties can also contact Steve Kittelson, Minnesota DNR shallow lakes specialist at 507-578-8891 or [email protected], or contact Jeanine Vorland, area wildlife supervisor at 507-414-6200 or [email protected].

Mail correspondence can be sent to Steve Kittelson, Shallow Lakes Program, 35365 800th Avenue, Madelia, MN 56062.

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