A public hearing has been set to discuss management options for Clear Lake in Sibley County.

The hearing will be Tuesday, May 16, at 7 p.m. at the Gibbon Community Center.  The public is also invited to visit with staff from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources and the Sibley County Soil & Water Conservation District at the Gibbon Sportsman’s Club at 5 p.m. the same day.

The DNR and conservation district plan to replace a culvert between Clear and Mud lakes that can be closed seasonally to limit common carp access to spawning areas.

The DNR also wants to conduct temporary water drawdowns on Clear Lake.  State wildlife officials say drawdowns help mimic a natural drought cycle that resets a lake ecosystem by removing bottom-feeding fish species, consolidating sediment, increasing water clarity,  helping to establish aquatic plants, and improving fish and wildlife habitats.

Other proposals include stocking the lake with additional predator fish like walleye, northern pike, yellow perch, and bluegill after a drawdown.

The DNR says Clear Lake’s habitat conditions and water quality have been hampered by “sustained high water levels” and an “overabundance of common carp,” which, experts say, degrade water quality through their feeding actions.  “Current conditions on the 505-acre lake are preventing aquatic plant growth and providing poor overall fish and wildlife habitat,” says a news release.

The public hearing is an opportunity to hear more about the proposed plan, ask questions, and provide formal comments on the proposals.

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