Aeration systems aid local lakes

Patrick Fisher

Staff Writer

Three area sportsman clubs are helping wildlife at three separate lakes by providing aeration systems.

According to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) the New Prague Sportsman Club has an system at Cedar Lake in Scott County, the Tri-Lake Sportsman Club has one at Circle Lake and the Wheatland Twin Lakes Sportsman Club has one at Cody Lake, both in Rice County.

Marilyn Danks, DNR aquatic biologist, noted aeration systems help create an open area of water, allowing the water to mix with oxygen. This helps both to prevent winterkill of fish and maintain their populations.

Each aerator was turned on this month, at Cody Lake it was Saturday, Dec. 19, Cedar Lake on Sunday, Dec. 27, and Circle Lake on Monday, Dec. 28.

Sean Sisler, natural resource specialist with the DNR regional office in St. Paul, explained that groups using aerators can also use oxygen meters that measure the oxygen in the water. An aerator can be turned on after the oxygen drops below five on the meter.

The sportsman clubs, plus others, have to apply for a permit that usually runs during the winter months. Danks noted the first permit the DNR has for Cedar Lake is from 1981, for Cody Lake it was 1989 and for Circle Lake it was in 2001.

Since aeration systems create an open area of water or thin ice, permit holders of aeration systems have to place warning signs on the lakes and at access points. The signs warn snowmobilers, ice anglers and other outdoor enthusiasts to use extreme caution. Sisler noted the aeration system on Cedar Lake is about a half-mile north, or up shore, of the boat launch on the lake's east shore. Danks said the system at Circle Lake is on the lake's west side and at Cody Lake it is on the north shore across from the boat launch.

Larry Ryder of Cedar Lake operates the aeration system on that lake for the New Prague Sportsmen.

The system has helped the northern pike and walleye populations on the lake

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