Hearing set for May 5 for Nelson Lake project

By Tom Hintgen

Otter Tail County Correspondent

Photo by Tom Hintgen
Map shows the location of Nelson Lake and Fish Lake, west of Parkers Prairie.

What to do about high water at Nelson Lake, west of Parkers Prairie, will be the topic at a public hearing scheduled for 7 p.m. on Wednesday, May 5, at the Prairie Event Center in Parkers Prairie.

High water has adversely affected Highway 6 near the north side of Nelson Lake. Flooding of nearby croplands also has taken place.

Original plans called for making use of current Ditch 45. However, it was determined this was not a viable option. 

A petition for a new outlet running southward from Nelson Lake to nearby Fish Lake was submitted to the county board of commissioners.

“On May 5 we will present to the public our thoughts on what we feel is the best option in order to solve the concerns,” says County Ditch Inspector Kevin Fellbaum who addressed the county board on this subject on April 13.

“We need to hear from the public to see if they feel the same. If they agree, we would then proceed forward with the project of wanting to move water from Nelson Lake into Fish Lake. If the public does not agree with that project, the other option would be to raise the road grade on Highway 6.”

County Ditch Inspector Kevin Fellbaum

Preliminary studies have been done by Fargo-based Houston Engineering. Included were determining where the best corridor would be to build the tile system, survey work, construction and cost/benefit analysis.

“The last time a new county ditch system was built was in 1923,” said County Ditch Inspector Fellbaum.

Here are some of the main issues:

• Design: pipe size, structures, lake elevation level

• Permitting: obtain permits from agencies

• Environmental impacts: downstream (can the receiving water bodies handle more water)

• Water quality: (are we moving clean or dirty water)

• Aquatic invasive species: will there need to be measures put in place to mitigate the movement of aquatic invasive species

• Operating plans: put in place a schedule on when water can be moved

• Lake level: what elevation is best for Nelson Lake to be maintained at for the health of the lake and for those around it

• Benefit determination: work with the county ditch viewing team to determine what benefits are derived from building this system.