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Lake Redwood dredging update: what to look forward to in coming months

The dredge Michael B, at right, started pulling up sediment from Lake Redwood on April 21.

The 25-year effort to drain the sediment out of Lake Redwood and get it back to its original depth has finally begun — and the public has questions. Here’s a brief overview of what’s happened so far, and what the public can look forward to over the next few months.

According to Redwood-Cottonwood Rivers Control Area (RCRCA) Executive Director Kerry Netzke, since early October 2021, over 23,000 feet of 18-inch diameter pipeline has been placed to transport to dredged material to the dewatering pond north of the city.

The Michael B, the second largest dredge in JF Brennan’s fleet, arrived in Redwood Falls on April 12. It was placed onto the lake with a 600-ton crane. The unusually gusty winds have made start-up challenging, but dredging officially began the afternoon of April 21. The next day — Earth Day, as it happens — a small kick-off celebration was held at Westside Park.  Senator Gary Dahms and Representative Paul Torkelson — who authored the legislation to provide a $7.3 million state grant for the project — were on hand to tour the Michael B.

The dredge will operate 6 days per week, 24 hours per day, taking Sundays off. The final removal goal is 650,000 cubic yards of accumulated sediment, restoring depth to 20 feet in the deepest portions of the lake. Other benefits include improved lake water quality in Lake Redwood and the receiving waters, restored recreational opportunities, increased water depth and clarity for aquatic habitat, and improved water supply for the City’s hydroelectric dam.

The crew of JF Brennan stresses the importance of safety with this line of work. Despite posted caution signs, the public is asked to be mindful of the pipeline, daily fuel trucks along State Hwy 19, and of the lakeside construction site at Westside Park. The public is to stay at least 100 feet from any equipment. The lake has been closed to the public for safety reasons. A lake closure sign is being posted at the Redwood River access on County Road 6, and should any watercraft use that section of the river, they must exit at Laser Avenue.

Coordination of the project is being shared by the RCRCA, handling the fiscal and contract management, and the City of Redwood Falls, providing oversight of project management. The project is financed utilizing a combination of State of Minnesota General Obligation Bonds and funds from the City of Redwood Falls which are dedicated to the reclamation project.



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