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Step one of Lake Redwood dredging project begins: confinement facility being built

After decades of sediment accumulating, Lake Redwood has gone from an original depth of over 20 feet to sometimes having islands in it, as shown in this recent photo.

Before the dirt can be scooped out of Lake Redwood next summer, a place has to be created for the dirt to go. And that is happening right now.

Earlier this summer, the Redwood-Cottonwood Rivers Control Area (RCRCA) put out bids for construction companies to build a Confined Disposal Facility (CDF) to hold the dredged sediment. Mathiowetz Construction Co. of Sleepy Eye was the lowest of the five submitted bids, at $966,414, and the bid was awarded on Aug. 6.

By Aug. 17, the property survey and erosion control measures were in place, and construction started. The disposal facility is expected to mostly be done by mid-November, with final details finished by next April 1.

Next January, the RCRCA will solicit bids for the actual dredging of the lake. A pipeline will connect the upper end of the lake to the disposal facility, with the dredging anticipated to begin in April 2021. Removing up to 650,000 cubic yards of sediment that has been accumulating for decades will take up to two years. By the spring of 2023, Lake Redwood is expected to be back to its original depth of over 20 feet.

The Lake Redwood dredging project has been in the planning stage for nearly a quarter century, always dependent on state funding for the multi-million dollar effort. It is a joint project between the RCRCA (fiscal and contract management), and the City of Redwood Falls (oversight).

The project is being financed with 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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