Minnesota: Towner Lake

Towner Lake in Grant County is part of an excellent wetland complex for waterfowl called the Niemackl Lakes, a prime destination for hunters. The enhanced 162-acre shallow lake borders a state wildlife management area, a federal waterfowl production area and a local park. The wildlife management area also contains an adjacent 45-acre wetland. According to the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, this wetland complex is one of the only habitats remaining in Minnesota theoretically capable of supporting more than 50 breeding waterfowl pairs per square mile.

Unfortunately, the combination of landscape drainage and record-high precipitation in the 1990s resulted in stable high water levels that eliminated aquatic plants and allowed invasive fish such as carp to over-winter and degrade Towner Lake. DU collaborated with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources to remedy the problem, designing and installing a water-control structure to allow the DNR to manage water levels. A fish barrier keeps fish out.

Today, Towner Lake provides optimal habitat for brood-rearing ducks and migrating diving ducks moving north to breed in the northern prairies and boreal forest, contributing to the health and well-being of continental waterfowl populations. In fall, hunters flock to the Towner Lake wetland too.

The project was funded in part by a North American Wetlands Conservation Act (NAWCA) grant.

Partners: Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, Minnesota Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund as recommended by the Legislative-Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources, Bois de Sioux Watershed District, City of Herman, North American Wetlands Conservation Council and Ducks Unlimited