Lake Oscar stirs debate between countiesPublished 10:50am Wednesday, January 5, 2011
By Tom HintgenDaily Journal Upstream water issues will be the concern of Otter Tail County and downstream issues will be aired by Wilkin County as officials from both counties meet today in Breckenridge. At the center of the conversations will be Oscar Lake, northwest of Carlisle, and Ditch 2. The flow from Oscar Lake, released naturally due to high water, eventually ends up in Wilkin County. A culvert was installed previously to protect upstream interests. The five commissioners in Otter Tail County understand the predicament of commissioners in Wilkin County. But even if ways are found to stop some of the flow from Oscar Lake, the results would likely be flooded roads in Oscar and Carlisle Townships, close to County Highway 10. Farmland flooding also is a concern. By having less water flow into Ditch 2, an additional foot of water at Oscar Lake might be the end result. “The danger,” said County Engineer Rick West to county commissioners on Tuesday, “is that an overflow from Oscar Lake will quickly fill a smaller Lake (Lein Lake) to the northwest. That, in turn, will likely cause other problems.” Commissioners agreed that all parties involved need to take into account the potential effects of both upstream and downstream concerns, for the well being of residents in both counties. One solution, said West, might be to have the Drainage Authority Joint Ditch Board make a decision regarding the outlet at Oscar Lake. The board includes commissioners from both Otter Tail and Wilkin counties. The solution, said outgoing county board chairman Roger Froemming who still is a member of the county commission, will have to be a middle ground approach. West said his department has pledged to work with Wilkin County in order to come up with a solution acceptable to both counties.