Image by Heron Lake Watershed District

A southwest Minnesota lake, Heron Lake near Windom, will have a lake drawdown through next summer to improve its environment, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. Heron Lake is nearly 8,000 acres in size and is well known for its waterfowl habitat.

A lake drawdown mimics a drought to reset an ecosystem by removing carp populations, consolidating sediment suspended in the lake water, and allowing the reestablishment of aquatic vegetation.

In spite of two years of drought conditions, the lake’s sizeable watershed prevented a full drawdown of the lake. Utilizing the dam to achieve a full drawdown in future years will help improve habitat. Its benefits include establishing lakeshore vegetation, which will also help mitigate erosion since Heron Lake is susceptible to wind and wave action.

Following completion of this work, wildlife managers with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources plan to keep Heron Lake water levels low through summer 2024 to improve water quality and reestablish aquatic vegetation on this noted waterfowl resting area.