BWSR Clean Water Fund Grant 2021-2023: Rice Lake Wetland Restoration- Construction of Upper Structure

Working for Cleaner Lakes

Over the past two decades, the Pelican River Watershed District has focused on the Detroit Lake watershed area, conducting diagnostic studies, monitoring, and modelling to pinpoint the largest contributors of phosphorus and sediment within the watershed area--untreated storm water runoff form impervious surfaces, nutrients from ditched wetlands, and soil erosion from ag fields and construction sites.  The District is working closely with many partners including landowners, businesses, and other governmental agencies to construct practices and implement development rules needed to achieve long range water quality goals for Detroit and downstream lakes Sallie and Melissa.

Restoring the Rice Lake Wetlands for the health of Detroit Lake

The studies and monitoring data identified the upstream Rice Lake Wetland, a ditched 280 acre wetland, as the primary source and contributor of "legacy" phosphorus loading to Big Detroit, contributing 3,000-4,000 lbs/year and 100 tons of sediment/year to the Pelican River.  The project water quality goal is to reduce by 40-60% the spring and summer episodes of phosphorus release from the wetland.  This can be achieved by increasing and stabilizing the water level to increase water residence time and trap the phosphorus to prevent it from leaching out of the peat soils and traveling downstream to Big Detroit Lake.

 Moving forward with the project in 2021

The District will be constructing the upper structure in 2021. In March the District advertised for bids. After the Board of Managers award the contract, construction will begin in the spring, with an anticipated completion date of November 1st. 

The project includes: construction of an earthen embankment, a rock fishway, improvements to the existing access road, Anchor Rd vacated segment improvements (restoration of County HWY 21 segment, removal of ditch culverts, installation of road terminus), historic outlet crossing improvement.

This project is funded by the Pelican River Watershed District and the Clean Water Land and Legacy Amendment.

Project partners include: City of Detroit Lakes, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources: Wildlife Division, and the Natural Resource Conservation Service.


Anchor Rd, vacated segment improvements.