Rice Lake Drawdown 2021-2022
Last Updated 3/29/2022
Background on Rice Lake drawdown needs
  The lake is controlled by a dam on Elm Creek. This allows the Rice Lake Area Association (with the help of the City of Maple Grove) to control the lake level when necessary. The lake basin receives water from various sources (creeks, residential and commercial drainage systems, etc.) which cover over 100 square miles in the northwest Hennepin County area. High levels of phosphorous enters the lake from these many sources and, along with the growth of non-native nuisance plants, contributes to accelerated and heavy weed growth. In some situations, this heavy weed growth impedes or halts navigation by water craft and impacts recreational use of the lake.

  There has been an on-going increase in the presence of both non-native Eurasian Watermilfoil and Curlyleaf Pondweed since the last whole lake treatment via drawdown was conducted over the winter of 2014-2015. A 2021 Aquatic Plant Study was conducted and showed a high number of both CLP and EWM plants since 2014. We also know that since the last Fish Survey conducted in 2014 shows a disproportionate number of rough fish (common carp and bullhead) to the number of game fish. Each of our project consultants recommended a drawdown with winter aeration to both reduce the CLP & EWM growth and to help the fish population to survive.

How does a Drawdown work?
  A drawdown done during the winter months exposes the lake bottom to the elements. A good hard freeze could be very beneficial in stunting the growth of weeds for the next year and possible future years. The native plants are accustomed to the elements and should not be impacted during a drawdown. 

  How does the Drawdown Process Work?
  The procedure for requesting a drawdown is very similar than when last sought in 2014-2015. The Minnesota DNR incorporated a new process in 2012 with these requirements:
            - Get at least 75% sign-off from riparian residents (lake/creekshore owners)
            - Show evidence that drawdown is needed for non-native plant control.

​Who Advocates the Drawdown for 2021-2022?
  RLAA has received support for conducting a drawdown by the following parties:

What is the Current Status for the Drawdown?
  As of July 25, both RLAA and the City is working with the MN DNR Area Hydrologist to get the drawdown permit completed and approved. We will keep you informed of the on-going status of this project on this web page.

Past Fish Restocking Projects
With the help of the City of Maple Grove, RLAA has stocked more native game fish in both 2015 and 2017.  Besides improving the game fish habitat and water quality, these species can feed on the young of both carp and bullhead. Note: All fish stocked were young, except for the 10 pair of adult largemouth bass. Among the species of fish stocked were:

How low can we go?

Other Comments

# of Visitors since June 30, 2020
Drawdown Approval vs. Rejection Summary Chart
Click on the respective links for more information
MN DNR Drawdown Requirements (2012)
Homeowner Drawdown Signature Document
Comparison Chart for current and previous Drawdowns
U.S. Geologic Survey gauge reading (Elm Creek in Champlin)  
2021-2022 Winter Aeration permit from DNR
2021-2022 Winter Aeration liability insurance coverage
2021-2022 Winter Aeration Public Notice (to be run 11/4 & 11/11)
1. Contact City to begin the drawdown request process
Completed 6/8/2021
The City formally requests the drawdown with the DNR on behalf of RLAA
2. Contact DNR to confirm requirements
Completed 6/8/2021
Ensure the process has not changed vs. past drawdowns
3. Collect riparian (shoreline) signatures for drawdown approval
Completed 7/18/2021
Total of 82 signatures received and submitted (107% of goal)
4. Submit signatures along with formal drawdown request to City
Completed 7/22/2021
5. City to hold Public Meeting for Public Comments
Completed 9/1/2021
MG LQC approved the drawdown request and recommended to the City Council to do the same at their next City Council meeting on September 7
6. City Council to decide on drawdown
Completed 9/7/2021
City Council passed the motion to approve the drawdown, which will commence on October 4..
7. Drawdown decision announced to Public after MN DNR grants permit
Completed 9/7/2021
This permit was previously approved contingent on City Council approval.
9. Drawdown begins
Completed 10/4/2021
Dam bypass opened up today; water is flowing downstream at heavy rate.
10. Water level down to 885.18 sea level
This is a drop of almost 6 feet from normal water level
There may be slight fluctuations over the winter
11. Dam bypass closed; lake already filling up due to winter melt/runoff
Completed 4/10/2022
Wait until all ice is off the lake
12. Winter aeration system turned off; Thin Ice signs collected
Completed 4/12/2022
Aeration system may be left running a few days into this week.
Drawdown Task List
RLAA Request to City for drawdown
2021 AIS Plant Survey
Rice Lake drawdown checklist

Rice Lake drawdown photos