Flooding took place last September on Clay Bank Road on the east end of Long Lake.

Archived Story

Lake owners at odds over drawdown

Published 10:44am Friday, April 8, 2011 Updated 10:44am Friday, April 8, 2011

When Long Lake reaches a certain level, the county highway department opens a 15-inch pipe that connects Jewett Lake and Long Lake. Water flows northward from Jewett into Long. When the water level on Long Lake rises above a certain level, the pipe is closed.

The Jewett Lake Association is seeking a conditional use permit (CUP) for modification of terms and conditions of the current policy. The association is seeking an increase in operating time of the pipe and flow to relieve what it terms “excessive flooding of Jewett Lake.”

This issue will be discussed during the next Otter Tail County Planning Commission meeting at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, at the Government Services Center in Fergus Falls.

Long Lake and Jewett Lake are located about 10 miles north of Fergus Falls. The pipe between the two lakes was installed in the fall of 1999.

“The level that it is shut off is just below our OHWL (Ordinary High Water Level),” said Kirby Anderson, a member of the Long Lake Association.

Long Lake has a natural water release. Water goes through a small creek, flows to Reed Lake and eventually enters the Pelican River. Jewett Lake has no natural outlets. The pipe has been used periodically since it was installed.

In prior years, some members of the Jewett Lake Association have lobbied for the pipe to remain open 100-percent of the time in light of ongoing high water problems. They maintain that continual operation of the pipe would not adversely affect the water level of Long Lake. For that reason, through the CUP, Jewett lake members seek to have the pipe stay open all the time.

However, Long Lake property owners disagree.

While saying that they sympathize with many lakeshore owners at Jewett Lake, those who live at Long Lake emphasize that their lake has also reached record levels in recent years. Even though water flows from Long Lake into the Pelican River, property owners at Long Lake say this flow is not fast enough and does not prevent water from rising at Long Lake.

The original agreement dates back to 1999, between the Jewett Lake Association and Otter Tail County. At that time there was no association at Long Lake. Input also came from the county highway department, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and the county’s shoreland management department.

Property owners at Long Lake believe that the agreement between both lake associations, and the designation of a party to periodically check lake levels and open or close the 15-inch pipe accordingly, has been a good policy. They also note benefits to all property owners at both lakes over the years.

However, members of the Jewett Lake Association say the policy with opening and closing the pipe needs to be revisited. Lake property owners at Jewett Lake paid for the cost of the pipe that connects the two lakes, approximately $60,000.

  • http://www.reverbnation.com/jamiecooper JAMIECOOPER.NET

    hmmm? the ice caps are melting and for some reason water levels keep getting higher worldwide? strange, the GOP said global warming was a myth?

    • Cascade

      Hmmmm…don’t let the fact that we are 1181 ft. above sea level skew your smear.

    • Jake Krohn

      We need not invoke climate change for this. The myopia of cabin-builders who believe that lake levels should naturally remain at the same level as when their house was built is fault enough. Nature doesn’t care much if there are houses on shore or not.

  • http://www.reverbnation.com/jamiecooper JAMIECOOPER.NET

    when these lake cabins were built, the shoreline was quite alot farther away than you imagine and the shoreline had a holding static pattern of rise and recede for generations. kind of a high tide/low tide trend.
    it was predictable and reliable. thats no longer the case.
    it’s difficult to consider those who built lake cabins as being myopic for not seeing the global disasters that are already occurring as a result of environmental recklessness. if you think this is something, just you wait, you ain’t seen nothing yet.

    @Cascade, so we are 1181 ft above sea level? so what?
    where do you think smoke goes? does it disappear into another dimension? what about the chemicals and pollutants that can’t be seen with the naked eye? do they exist? where has all the melt waters from the melting ice caps gone? I realize the political right believe it’s impossible that the rising water levels worldwide could be in any way connected, but, then again, the majority of the pro-pollution producing right wingers also claim to follow a religion that think it’s possible to flood the entire planet in a single night, simply with rain from an atmosphere incapable of holding enough water vapor to do so. lol, go ahead and play pretend all you like, science and nature or if you must “you God”, doesn’t care.

    • Cascade

      I don’t want to get into a argument about anthropogenic warming here, but I seem to notice a certain amount of ambivalence and hate in your bigoted responses. Is there a reason you often descend into some sort of attack on one group or another?
      It discredits what -could be- a potentially interesting post.

Editor's Picks

School year unlikely to start early: Board plans for first day of Sept. 8

Superintendent Jerry Ness and Fergus Falls Public School Board member Melanie Cole confirmed Monday that the district’s school year will start after Labor Day on ... Read more

Sievert finalist for Brainerd city administrator position

Fergus Falls city administrator Mark Sievert is one of four finalists for the Brainerd city administrator position and will go through a first round of ... Read more

Hope Inc. sled hockey team competes in national festival

Fergus girl among athletes The Moorhead-based Hurricanes give a chance to many disabled children, including some from Fergus Falls, to be competitive through regional, sectional ... Read more

National Guard to help fight avian flu: State, feds gear up for long battle toward eradication

WILLMAR (FNS) — The State Emergency Operations Center announced Sunday that 30 National Guard soldiers will haul water needed for avian influenza decontamination today through ... Read more