WORTHINGTON - Radio-tagging of carp in Worthington’s Lake Okabena will begin shortly after ice-out as the Okabena-Ocheda Watershed District begins a nearly two-year study on carp populations, their spawning areas and gathering habits.

The information collected from tracking the carp will help the district to plan targeted carp removal operations within the lake, Sunset Bay and adjacent channels.

During its board meeting Tuesday, OOWD managers authorized signing an agreement with Wenck Associates to implant radio tags in 15 carp and then train OOWD staff to track their movement.

“We may need two years of data to know where they spawn,” said OOWD Administrator Dan Livdahl.

There was some discussion Tuesday about the potential for radio-tagged carp to be caught or killed by bow fishermen.

“The carp will have a long wire sticking out of it,” Livdahl said. “Anyone who catches one is asked to put it back in the water. If you kill one, call us because we need to know that happened.”

In other business, the board:

  • Learned the Kanaranzi-Little Rock Watershed District’s board of managers signed a resolution to submit a petition to the Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources requesting a boundary change. OOWD Board Chairman Rolf Mahlberg also signed the petition, which seeks to transfer approximately 6.4 square miles of land currently within the O&O watershed into the K-LR watershed.

Livdahl said he’d like to get approval from the state early enough so that affected property owners can be taxed by their proper watershed district in 2020. He is concerned, however, about the buffer strip incentive payments the OOWD has provided to some of the property owners whose land will shift into the K-LR.

“We have contracts with landowners for buffer strips that we promised to pay,” Livdahl said. The K-LR does not offer such incentives to landowners within its district.

Livdahl also noted that because of the size of the K-LR’s taxing district, properties shifting into that district will be taxed at a much lower rate. This could make up for the difference in the lost incentive payments.

With managers Steve Bousema and Jeff Rogers absent from Tuesday’s meeting, Mahlberg asked that a decision about the incentive payments be delayed until the full board can discuss options.

  • Discussed the Lake Ocheda dam project. Engineering work is expected to be completed soon, and Livdahl said he hopes to start advertising for bids yet this month.
  • Approved a permit for Steve Robinson to reset two large culverts in a drainage ditch behind his home on Dugdale Avenue. Robinson wants to reset them at the elevation they had been at, as well as restore the walkway over the culvert.
  • Appointed Logan Ahlers and Justin Langseth to the OOWD’s Advisory Committee.
  • Received copies of the watershed district’s 2018 annual report and 2019 annual plan to review.