There are thousands of lakes in Minnesota with rich histories of waterfowling traditions, but arguably none as well known as Lake Christina in Douglas County. Due to a combination of prolonged high-water levels and over-population of rough fish, the lake was in a turbid, unproductive state. This poor water quality had virtually eliminated the aquatic food resources that historically attracted hundreds of thousands of waterfowl each spring and fall. To restore the lake to a clear water condition and reverse the decline in waterfowl use, a comprehensive conservation plan was developed at the local level. Starting in 2003, DU’s involvement with implementing the conservation plan has included an aerial application of rotenone, followed by the design and installation of fish barriers between Lakes Ina and Anka and at Nycklemoe Slough to prevent fish from reentering Lake Christina. Preliminary surveys by the MN DNR show water clarity has dramatically improved and vegetation and invertebrates are recovering. The best news is that the ducks are coming back!
Our work on Lake Christina is not done as we continue to move toward a more permanent solution. The next phases include working with the Lake Association and MN DNR to study the feasibility of a permanent pump structure that would allow periodic drawdowns and to work with additional conservation oriented Lake Christina property owners to help protect undeveloped shorelines. One conservation-oriented couple, John and Pat Lindquist, donated a conservation easement to DU in December, 2004, on 170 acres of land along Lakes Christina, Anka, and Ina. Thanks to numerous dedicated supporters, the future is looking very bright for Lake Christina and the waterfowl that depend on it.