Lake of the Woods SWCD ditch fix targets sediment-filled Bostic Bay

Corryn Trask, Lake of the Woods SWCD resource conservationist, and Josh Stromlund, Lake of the Woods SWCD and Land & Water Planning department director, examined a segment of Judicial Ditch 28 paralleling County Road 4 before a Clean Water Fund project began. Completed in summer 2020, the channel stabilization is designed to curb bank erosion, improve water quality and protect fish passage to spawning sites. Photo Credit: Ann Wessel, BWSR

“The other thing that makes Lake of the Woods unique is that we have long-lived fish that grow to be big. So we have probably one of the best chances of an angler catching up with a trophy-sized walleye throughout the entire state,” Talmage said.

Construction took place mid-July through mid-September. Direct construction costs totaled about $250,000. Among the other project costs: engineering, surveying and inspection work; administration; project development; education and outreach, which is planned for this spring. Photo Credit: Lake of the Woods SWCD

“Our bay was wide open when we bought the resort, and now it’s pretty much just the harbor area and the channel that goes out (to the lake),” said Ken-Mar-Ke owner Bob Ericksen, who estimates he’s spent $40,000 to $50,000 on dredging since he bought the resort 27 years ago.

A handful of the Minnesota resorts serving Lake of the Woods are on Bostic Bay, seen here. Part of Lake of the Woods’ appeal is the potential for anglers to catch trophy size fish — including walleye and sturgeon. Phil Talmage, the DNR’s Baudette-based area fisheries manager, said Lake of the Woods also has “a great potential for trophy northern pike.” Photo Credit: Ann Wessel, BWSR

“You could still run a boat on it,” Mickelson said of the creek. “You’d have to probably tilt your motor up so it wasn’t all the way in the water. And then you’d probably have to stop several times before you got to the lake and clean the weeds off your prop.”

Bostic Creek, seen here, connects to Lake of the Woods via Bostic Bay. Over the past 40-plus years, sediment has filled in the once-open bay, constricting navigation to a channel and making it more difficult for larger boats, which require deeper water. Photo Credit: Ann Wessel, BWSR
A Wright Construction employee stands on the bench where a side-water inlet is being installed. Wright Construction Inc. of Thief River Falls completed Judicial Ditch 28 channel stabilization work in summer 2020. The project will keep the equivalent of 23 dump truck loads of sediment out of the creek each year. The county public works department inspected and certified the project. Photo Credit: Lake of the Woods SWCD
Trask stood on the steep banks of Judicial Ditch 28 during a tour of the project site before work began. The newly constructed two-stage ditch is an extension of a 1-mile stretch that was installed in 2008. Photo Credit: Ann Wessel, BWSR
Stromlund took in a pre-construction, downstream view of Judicial Ditch 28 encompassing the section where a two-stage ditch was built in summer 2020. Among the benefits of the two-stage ditch: It will provide more spawning habitat for northern pike. Photo Credit: Ann Wessel, BWSR
Pre-construction views of Judicial Ditch 28 in the Bostic Creek watershed illustrate the need for Lake of the Woods SWCD and County’s channel stabilization project.
An MPCA continuous stage monitor helps to fine-tune channel modeling. Monitoring started in 2017 in the Bostic Creek watershed. Photo Credit: Ann Wessel, BWSR
The Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources’ mission is to improve and protect Minnesota’s water and soil resources by working in partnership with local organizations and private landowners. www.bwsr.state.mn.us

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