When it was first constructed over a century ago, Lake Redwood was about 22 feet deep. A dredging project scheduled for the next two years aims to restore it to its original depth.

The Lake Redwood Reclamation Project — informally known as “the Lake Redwood dredging” — has been a project in the works for over a quarter century. The goal — revitalize Lake Redwood and restore its depth to 20 feet from the current average depth of less than three feet by removing about 650,000 cubic yards of accumulated sediment.

Every time the lake dredging project has been proposed before, it has fallen through — usually because of funding falling through at the last minute. However, with the state finally agreeing to contribute $7.3 million to the project, final engineering and land preparation accomplished, and a contractor selected, the dredging itself could begin as soon as August.

According to the Redwood-Cottonwood Rivers Control Area (RCRCA), the contractor — J.F. Brennan Company, Inc., of La Crosse, Wis. — plans to make use of the lakeside part of Perk’s Park once the picnic shelter and playground are fenced off.

Before dredging could begin, the first step was to construct a Confined Disposal Facility (CDF) to hold and dewater the dredged materials.  The organizers of the project bought a 140 acre parcel of land about two miles north of the city, from Red Del, LLC.

The next step will be to place a 16-inch pipeline from the upper end of the lake to the CDF. Once that pipeline is in place, the hydraulic dredge could be set up near the dam on Lake Redwood as soon as next August. Once the dredging actually starts, the lake will be closed to the public. Dredging will end once it gets too cold, then start up in the spring of 2022.

J.F. Brennan Company, Inc.’s low bid came to $3,468,111. The RCRCA is the local agency officially charged with supervising the project, and the City of Redwood Falls has previously committed to contribute up to $900,000 toward it.