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Brink Lake RIM-WRP Project

In November, 2013 wetland restoration construction took place at Brink Lake located about 6 miles south-east of Detroit Lakes in Burlington Township, Becker County, Minnesota (MN). This group project is comprised of five landowners that were interested in improving wetlands on their properties.

Planning for this project began in 2008 with on-site investigations and contacts with local landowners; then 4 of 5 landowners made applications for the Reinvest in Minnesota (RIM) – Wetlands Reserve Program (WRP) Partnership in 2009 with the last application being made in 2010. “There were lots of hurdles along the way for a project of this size and complexity,” said Phil Doll, RIM WRP Planner, Ducks Unlimited. “But, the end result is going to be a great example of what RIM WRP and all the Partners can accomplish.”

View from downstream showing the new outlet pipe alongside the existing ditch that drained Brink Lake.  The ditch will be filled in as part of the completed construction.The construction included the restoration of a drained lake, Brink Lake. This lake was first ditched in 1915 by a county ditch. An important step in the restoration of the lake was to abandon the county ditch, and the landowners involved worked closely with the local NRCS and SWCD staff to make that happen. Becker County was very supportive in the process and the abandonment hearing went very smoothly. When the restoration is fully completed, the lake will be about 200 acres in size and average less than 5’ deep.

Engineering for the project was completed by the MN Board of Water and Soil Resources (BWSR), who administers the RIM program. They came up with a design that will eliminate beaver dams and debris from blocking the new outlet, which was a major concern of the Township and Landowners.

Along with the restoration of Brink Lake, adjacent lands will be restored to prairie and additional seasonal pothole wetlands will be restored in 2014 which will also be when Brink Lake completely fills with water once again.

This restoration is the largest project that Doll has ever worked on. “Besides this wetland project being so big, what’s made it so fun is that all of the landowners are truly excited to see Brink Lake restored.”

The Landowners see the aesthetic value that this wetland restoration will create for their property. They also look forward to seeing improvement in wildlife habitat, hunting and recreational opportunities, as well as water quality and ground water recharge.

The WRP has helped private landowners voluntarily restore, protect, and enhance wetlands and wildlife habitat on their lands since 1992. Through the WRP NRCS provides technical and financial support to landowners. Since 2008, NRCS through WRP has partnered with the Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources (BWSR) and RIM to acquire and restore RIM-WRP Partnership easements.

For additional information regarding the Brink Lake RIM-WRP project please contact your local USDA Service Center.