New Hope Approves Meadow Lake Drawdown Project to Improve Water Quality
Living along a lake is a dream for many Minnesotans. Thirty years ago, Jodi Taitt made it happen.
“It’s awesome,” said Taitt, a member of the Meadow Lake Watershed Association. “[The lake] changes every day. It has become a good friend, and the spirit of the water has brought our community together.”
Taitt lives along Meadow Lake in New Hope. Over that 30-year time span, she’s built quite the buffer of native plants along her shoreline to protect the lake from water runoff.
“These plants have root systems as deep as 20-feet deep, and they serve as a filter of that runoff before it hits the water itself,” she said.
However, Meadow Lake needs help well beyond what Taitt and her neighbors can accomplish with native plants.
“Meadow Lake just continually has some poor water quality,” said Ed Matthiesen, an engineer with the Shingle Creek Watershed Management Commission. “We have a lot of fat head minnows in this lake and some other fish species that are undesirable. And we have a decent amount of phosphorus that’s coming out of the sediment, kind of keep getting recirculated back into the water column.”
Pressing the ‘reset button’
To treat those issues, the Shingle Creek Watershed Management Commission plans to partner with the city of New Hope on a lake drawdown project.
“We are going to take all of the water out of the lake in order to kill all the fish off, essentially press reset on that,” Matthiesen said. “And that’ll help also consolidate the sediment.”
The idea is that the Meadow Lake drawdown will result in the release of less phosphorous, which should reduce the presence of green algae.
“Should be pretty clear water,” Matthiesen added. “Should be if you walk out there, you should be able to see the bottom of the lake.”
People will have to wait a bit for that day to come. The Meadow Lake drawdown likely won’t happen until October.
Meanwhile, city officials say the project still needs approval from at least 75 percent of the lakeshore property owners.
“To my knowledge, I am not aware of anyone who is completely against it,” Taitt said, when asked whether consent from her neighbors would be an issue.
In the meantime, she’s just excited for what comes next.
“It is exciting. It is going to be very interesting to observe how the water responds to our efforts,” Taitt said.
A memorandum of understanding, which the New Hope City Council approved this week, identifies a total cost in 2020 of $70,000, with the city paying for all 2020 costs. In 2021, the Shingle Creek Watershed Management Commission will reimburse the city.