Swan Lake drawdown an effort to address degraded habitat

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is lowering water levels on Swan Lake in Nicollet County in an effort to improve conditions for wildlife.

The DNR’s plan calls for lowering water levels to three feet below the ordinary high-water level, allowing for new emergent vegetation growth.

The lowered water levels mimic a drought, says the DNR, which can “reset” the aquatic community in a shallow lake by consolidating sediment, and exposing the seedbed for germination.  Lowered water levels also may help reduce common carp populations, according to the agency.

“The region has had several years of above-average rainfall, pushing Swan Lake above its ordinary high water level,” said Stein Innvaer, Nicollet area wildlife manager.  “The lake has gone 13 years without an extended low later period, and we’re seeing how wind, waves, and ice have caused emergent plants to decline.

Wildlife managers say the drawdown, which is temporary, will improve wildlife habitat and water quality.

More about: