Fish, Lizzie, and Prairie Lake Dam Removals on the Pelican River

Fish, Lizzie, and Prairie Lake Dam Removals on the Pelican River 4 - Houston Engineering INC.
Fish, Lizzie, and Prairie Lake Dam Removals on the Pelican River

Overview

HEI replaced the Fish, Lizzie, and Prairie Lake Dams with new rock ramps and natural boulder arch rapids to allow for fish passage.

Background

Eight Dams Along Pelican River
Historically, there were eight dams along the Pelican River. These dams are barriers that make dispersal for river species difficult both up and downstream, but these structures can be converted in such a way that they are more favorable to passage of fish, muskrats, otters, shorebirds, waterfowl, salamanders, frogs, crayfish, and other invertebrate species.

As part of the Red River of the North Fisheries Management Plan, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has listed goals of removing barriers to restore uninterrupted fish migration pathways.

The Clean Water Land and Legacy Amendment was passed in 2008, providing more funding opportunities for these types of projects.

The Project

Fish Lake Dam
Fish Lake Dam sets water levels for Pelican Lake, Fish Lake, and Bass Lake, a chain of lakes on the Pelican River. The original Fish Lake Dam was built in 1932 and has had a long and storied history. In 1937, the dam came under the control of the State Conservation Commission. The State of Minnesota made some repairs in 1967.
In 2003, the center island washed out, and a temporary patch was put in place until a more permanent solution could be completed. In 2013, some minor repairs were made, but exposed rebar and sheet pile remained. The Pelican Group of Lakes Improvement District (PGOLID) sought a permanent solution for the aging and dilapidated dam that improved fish and wildlife habitat as well as safety while maintaining current upstream lake levels.

Working with Houston Engineering, Inc. (HEI), the PGOLID concluded that the best permanent solution that accomplished the project goals would be to install a rock ramp and natural boulder arch rapids. HEI surveyed and designed the proposed project.

HEI worked closely with the DNR on the project design on behalf of the PGOLID. The project began construction in 2017 and was completed in 2018.

View our interactive StoryMap to see photos, videos, and maps of this project.

  • Improved fish migration along the Pelican River.
  • Natural-looking rapids look right at home in the landscape.
  • Potential spawning habitat created.
  • Improved safety.
  • Maintains current lake levels and hydraulics.

 

Watch a video of the stream flowing here:
https://youtu.be/npEE2JXlPEk

Project Details

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Client: Pelican Group of Lakes Improvement District

Location: Pelican Rapids, Minnesota

Project Highlights
  • Improved fish migration along the Pelican River.
  • Natural-looking rapids look right at home in the landscape.
  • Potential spawning habitat created.
  • Improved safety.
  • Maintains current lake levels and hydraulics.

 

Watch a video of the stream flowing here:
https://youtu.be/npEE2JXlPEk

Services

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