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WDAY: The News Leader

Published July 19, 2012, 08:49 PM

Otter Tail County mulls proposed lakes drainage plans

Otter Tail County (WDAY TV) -- A drainage solution is near for Otter Tail County homeowners along steadily rising lakes after a community meeting this week.

By: Becky Parker, WDAY

Otter Tail County (WDAY TV) -- A drainage solution is near for Otter Tail County homeowners along steadily rising lakes after a community meeting this week. Plans to release excess water from Little McDonald, Kerbs, and Paul Lakes were being re-evaluated after some residents expressed concern.

In the past several years, Irene Schultz has added rip-rap, concrete blocks, and sandbags as Little McDonald Lake has risen higher. Now, the water has topped all barriers - spilling over, into her lower level.

Irene Schultz - Little McDonald Resident: "It used to be a bedroom, and now I don't know. My family doesn't even want to come and visit me anymore because I don't have no extra room for them."

Many homeowners on Little McDonald, Kerbs, and Paul lakes are trying to hold back waters that have been on an upward trend for a decade.

The Otter Tail County Board is looking at a plan to drain the extra water, but now, those residents will have to wait a little longer for relief.

Wayne Johnson - Otter Tail County Commissioner: "We want to get this thing right, and so we wanted to address all that commentary. So, we've postponed our decision for a couple of weeks."

The proposed plan would send excess water downstream, through a series of lakes, eventually ending up in Otter Tail River. A final decision on that is expected by the end of the month.

Lake Improvement District President Roger Neitzke says he and other homeowners are just glad a solution is on the horizon.

Roger Neitzke - LID President: "We're within, right now, of about six inches of our highest point that we've ever had, last year. And every rain that we get, the lake goes down, our only chance now is evaporation."

After years of fighting back rising water, these homeowners are glad that in just a few months they may begin to see their picturesque shorelines re-emerge.

The County Board is expected to approve the plan at a meeting on Tuesday.

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