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Olson Trust dedicates money to carp removal, runoff prevention efforts

The long-term goal of the project is to keep gravel from washing into the lake, and increase parking overall.

The sun shines on Lake Okabena on Monday, June 27, 2022.
The sun shines on Lake Okabena on Monday, June 27, 2022.
Kari Lucin / The Globe
We are part of The Trust Project.

WORTHINGTON — The E.O. Olson Trust will contribute $85,000 toward a project intended to keep gravel from parking lots and trails out of Lake Okabena, its members decided Tuesday.

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The project also includes a boat decontamination station, which will help keep invasive species out of the lake.

Todd Wietzema, public works director for the city of Worthington, said $47,000 has already been paid for the decontamination station, which will use a waterless cleaning system and be run by the boat owners themselves, rather than being staffed. The members of the trust said they hoped the public would use the decontamination station.

The long-term goal of the project is to keep gravel from washing into the lake, and increase parking overall.

Wietzema asked the trust to contribute to the project, which will cost an estimated $417,000, not including the boat station.

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Okabena-Ocheda Watershed District Administrator Dan Livdahl spoke to the trust about carp control. Lake Okabena has two to four times the number of carp compared to what is considered healthy and sustainable.

Carp Solutions, a company associated with the University of Minnesota, recently tagged and trapped carp on Lake Okabena using cracked corn as bait, and drew out about 3,500 pounds of carp from the lake. About 316 carp were caught, and only about 12 of them had been tagged.

Livdahl was requesting about $22,000 to put toward the carp capture effort.

Trust members said they were concerned about the "alarming" number of carp in the lake, particularly given that multiple organizations have been trying to eliminate carp from Lake Okabena for 10 years or more.

“We are not ready to give up on this,” said Robert Demuth, Jr., a member of the trust and Nobles County Commissioner.

The trust granted $31,000 for the carp removal effort.

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