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Fountain Lake dredging project hitting financial snag

Posted on June 15, 2022

ALBERT LEA, Minnesota – Fountain Lake draws in tourists, boaters and anglers from near and far year-round. But on the lake’s bottom, there’s all kinds of sediment that contains phosphorus that has washed into the lake over the years; that sediment can kick start algae growth, and it’s something the Shell Rock River Watershed District is hoping to avoid.

Since 2017, the lake has been dredged one phase at a time, with sediment being stored up-stream from the lake. The third and final phase of the project would run from Pioneer Park southeast towards Bridge Avenue. While some of the cost is being paid through local option sales tax dollars, another funding resource comes from the state of Minnesota’s bonding bill, with this year’s bill having yet to be passed. The district has submitted a bonding request of $8.5 million to go towards the project.

Administrator Andy Henschel has been pushing for the third phase to commence, and has reached out to local representatives for their support.

“We’ve removed 1.2 million cubic yards of material from the lake. It’s been our emphasis to keep pushing to get phase 3 done, which would be the final phase of the lake.”

“We hear from a lot of the locals about what we’re doing. We definitely see it with the fishing community, with the environment we’ve created with the removal of the soft sediment in the lake. We’re starting to see some feedback from the community.”

If there is no bonding bill passed this year, Henschel says that Phase 3 could be delayed by two more years.


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