Dedication celebrates Eagle Lake conservation project

Improved lake is hub for wildlife, recreationists in McLeod County

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HUTCHINSON, Minnesota – July 15, 2018 – More than 60 conservationists celebrated the rejuvenation of Eagle Lake at a Ducks Unlimited project dedication Saturday, July 14.

The dedication featured remarks from project supporters and a site tour. A plaque for Ducks Unlimited major donors was unveiled on site.

“I love seeing supporters assembled for these projects,” said Ruth Hoefs, Ducks Unlimited Minnesota state chair. “It’s because of their generosity that we can conserve the areas that we do for ducks, wildlife and the clean water we need for our future.”

Eagle Lake is a 409-acre shallow lake in McLeod County, and is important to waterfowl and outdoors enthusiasts. As with many shallow lakes in Minnesota, Eagle Lake’s health declined because of invasive fish and high water. Eagle Lake desperately needed help and the state turned to Ducks Unlimited to engineer a new solution.

In September 2014, Ducks Unlimited celebrated the designation of Eagle Lake as Minnesota’s 50th wildlife management lake with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources and other partners. This official action gave the state legal authority to temporarily lower water levels and enhance wetland wildlife habitat.

“Eagle Lake is a great example of the strength of the partnership between Ducks Unlimited and Minnesota Department of Natural Resources,” said Dave Schad, deputy commissioner, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. “DU brought funding, local support and engineering to the table, while the agreement between DNR and the Buffalo Creek Watershed District ensures that the lake will continue to be managed for the benefit of waterfowl into the future.”

Ducks Unlimited engineered and installed a new water-control structure and fish barrier in 2015 using a state grant appropriation from Minnesota’s Outdoor Heritage Fund as recommended by the Lessard-Sams Outdoor Heritage Council. Minnesota DNR has used that structure to conduct temporary one or two-year water draw-downs to remove carp, consolidate sediment and nutrients, and rejuvenate aquatic plants and invertebrate food resources for ducks and other wildlife. 

Eagle Lake is a strong example of Ducks Unlimited’s Living Lakes Initiative, which aims to enhance, restore and protect managed shallow lakes and wetlands. Ducks Unlimited has more than a dozen completed or ongoing projects near Eagle Lake, giving ducks plenty of opportunities for migrating habitat.

“This is exactly what the Living Lakes Initiative is, enhancing these shallow lakes that act as stepping stones,” said John Lindstrom, Ducks Unlimited biologist in Minnesota. “When a duck is flying they can pick out that clean water. The vegetation in Eagle Lake is exactly the response I want to see from our conservation work.”

The plaque dedicating the site is located south of Hutchinson. To see it, take CR 7 south out of Hutchinson, head west on 115th street for one mile and turn north onto Wells Avenue. Take Wells Avenue for roughly two miles, winding through a natural setting before ending at the dedication area.

Ducks Unlimited Inc. is the world's largest nonprofit organization dedicated to conserving North America's continually disappearing waterfowl habitats. Established in 1937, Ducks Unlimited has conserved more than 14 million acres thanks to contributions from more than a million supporters across the continent. Guided by science and dedicated to program efficiency, DU works toward the vision of wetlands sufficient to fill the skies with waterfowl today, tomorrow and forever. For more information on our work, visit www.ducks.org.

Media Contact:
Chris Sebastian
(734) 623-2017
csebastian@ducks.org