Otter Tail County, Minn. – Lake Outlet Project

A makeshift pump is set up behind the line of sandbags on the Little McDonald Lake shoreline during one of its many water level peaks. PC: The Daily Journal, Fergus Falls, MN

Over the past 15 years, water levels on Little McDonald, Kerbs and Paul Lakes, located in Otter Tail County near Perham, Minn., have risen to an elevation several feet over ordinary high water levels, peaking at 51 inches over the ordinary high water mark on Little McDonald Lake in 2011. With no natural outlet on the lakes, residents and property owners have dealt with multiple flooding issues: flooded homes, severe erosion, shoreland damage, submerged roads and continuous need for pumping.

The Little McDonald, Kerbs and Paul Lake Improvement District (LMKP LID) sought relief to the flooding problems through the construction of an artificial outlet for the lakes. After evaluating multiple alternatives, Moore Engineering designed a project for the LMKP LID to remove excess water from the lakes by pumping water from the east end of Little McDonald Lake and discharging it into the Otter Tail River.

The project will involve a pumping system capable of pumping 15 cubic feet per second and the installation of approximately three miles of 24-inch buried pipe that will connect with a pipeline shared with the Devils-Little Devils Lake Improvement District (DLD LID) to convey water from both LIDs approximately two miles to the Otter Tail River.

Little McDonald Lake is on the Minnesota DNR’s Infested Water List due to a positive test for zebra mussels. Therefore, the project will also require a filtration system capable of removing zebra mussels from the water pumped downstream.

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