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DNR urges caution on aerated lakes (2006-11-14)

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It's that time of year again... FYI

DNR urges caution on aerated lakes (2006-11-14)

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) warns ice anglers, snowmobile riders, skiers and other outdoor enthusiasts to use caution when going onto any lake covered or partially covered with ice, especially those that have aeration systems operating on them.

Approximately 280 Minnesota lakes will have aeration systems operating on them this winter. Private hatchery operators also use aeration systems, usually on small lakes without public accesses.

"Open water areas created by aeration systems can shift or change shapes depending on weather conditions," said Marilyn Danks, DNR aquatic biologist. "Leaks may develop in air lines creating other areas of weak ice or open water."

Aeration helps prevent winterkill of fish populations by adding oxygen to the lake. But they also create areas of open water and thin ice, which are significant hazards. Aeration systems are generally operated from the time the lakes freeze until the ice breaks up in the spring.

A permit is required from the DNR to install and operate an aeration system. Permit holders must publish public notices, post warning signs and inspect the systems at least once every seven days. Liability insurance is generally required of private parties operating aeration systems in protected waters. Aeration systems are inspected for safety and compliance with regulations by permit holders and DNR personnel. People are advised to watch for notices in local newspapers identifying aerated lakes.

Two types of signs are used to post aerated lakes, "Thin Ice" and Warning" signs. The person or organization that holds the permit is to maintain "Warning" signs at all commonly used access points to the lake.

This sign warns people approaching the lake that an aeration system is in operation and to use extreme caution. "Thin Ice" signs are used to mark the perimeter of the thin ice and open water area.

These signs are diamond shaped with an orange border and white background with the warning "Thin Ice" in bold print.

Some municipalities may have ordinances, that prohibit entering into the thin ice marked area and/or prohibit the night use of motorized vehicles on lakes with aeration systems in operation. These local regulations are often posted at accesses where they apply.

For more information, call a regional DNR fisheries office or the DNR at (651) 296-6157 or toll free 1-888-MINNDNR (646-6367).

The following is a list of lakes where aeration systems will likely be in operation this winter. When there are lakes in the county with the same name as the aerated lake, the nearest town is shown in brackets. Names in parentheses are alternate lake names. Those names followed by an asterisk are newly aerated lakes.

NORTHWEST

(COUNTY: LAKE)

BECKER: Big Cormorant, Bijou, Little Cormorant, Melissa, Wolf.

BELTRAMI: Ewert's Pond.

CASS: Leech.

CLAY: Blue Eagle, Lake Fifteen

CLEARWATER: Pine.

DOUGLAS: Aldrich.

HUBBARD: Kenny*, Petite, Wolf.

MARSHALL: Unnamed (Florian Reservoir).

OTTER TAIL: Adley, Big McDonald, Big Pine, Fish [Parkers Prairie], Fish [Pelican Rapids], Lida, Little McDonald, Lizzie, Marion, Pelican, Perch, Pete, Samson, Tamarac.

POLK: Badger, Cable, Maple.

POPE: Johanna, Pelican, Signalness.

STEVENS: Hattie.

WADENA: Stocking.

NORTHEAST

AITKIN: Cedar [McGrath].

CASS: Loon, Eagle.

CROW WING: Nisswa.

LAKE: Superior Superior (Marinas).

ST. LOUIS: Colby*.

CENTRAL

ANOKA: Centerville, Coon, Crooked, Golden, Ham, Martin, Moore (East & West), Peltier, Spring*.

CARVER: Eagle, Oak, Susan.

CROW WING: Platte.

DAKOTA: Alimagnet, Birch Pond*, Blackhawk, Bur Oaks, Carlson, East Thomas, Farquar*, Fish, Gun Club, Hay, Heine, LeMay, Manor, Marion, Pickeral, Rebecca [Hastings], Schwanz, Thomas.

HENNEPIN: Arrowhead, Bass, Crystal, Gleason, Hadley, Hyland, Indianhead, Irene, Mitchell, Murphy, Penn (Lower Penn), Powderhorn, Rebecca [Maple Plain], Red Rock, Rice, Round, Snelling, Sweeney-Twin, Wirth, Wolfe.

KANABEC: Knife.

MORRISON: Alexander , Shamineau.

PINE: Lena.

RAMSEY: Beaver, Bennett, Birch, Como, Island, Loeb, Otter, Owasso, Pleasant, Silver (East Silver), Silver [Columbia Heights], Shoreview Community Center Pond, Vadnais, Willow.

SCOTT: Cedar, Cleary, Lakefront Park Pond, Legends, Krenz (Sunset), McColl, McMahon (Carls), Murphy, O'Dowd, Thole.

SHERBURNE: Ann [becker], Fremont, Jones, Masford, Unnamed (Fawn).

STEARNS: Becker, Black Oak, Dullinger, Fink, Marie (Maria) [Kimball].

WASHINGTON: Battle Creek (Mud) [Woodbury], Benz, Cloverdale, Goose, MacDonald, Pine Tree, Sand, Shields, Sunset.

WRIGHT: Augusta, Crawford, Dean, Little Waverly, Louisa, Mink, Somers.

SOUTHERN

BIG STONE: Artichoke, East Toqua, Long Tom.

BLUE EARTH: Crystal, Ida, Loon [Lake Crystal], Lura, Mills.

BROWN: Clear, Hanska, Sleepy Eye.

COTTONWOOD: Bean, Bingham, Cottonwood, Double (North & South Basins), Mountain [Mountain Lake].

COTTONWOOD/MURRAY: Talcott.

FARIBAULT: Rice.

FREEBORN: Albert Lea, Fountain, Morin.

GOODHUE: Pottery Pond [Red Wing].

JACKSON: Clear [Jackson], Independence, Little Spirit, Loon (Jackson), Pearl, Round.

KANDIYOHI: East Solomon, Elizabeth, Foot, Long, Mud (Monongalia) [New London], Ringo [spicer], Swenson [Pennock], Unnamed (Tadd), Unnamed (Upper), Wagonga, Willmar.

LESUEUR: Clear (Lexington), Gorman, Greenleaf, Mabel (Kilkenny), Scotch, Silver (Elysian).

LINCOLN: Benton, Dead Coon, Hendricks, Shaokatan, Stay (East Stay).

LYON: Clear, Cottonwood, East Goose, East Twin, Lady Slipper, Rock, School Grove, West Twin, Yankton.

MARTIN: Big Twin, Budd, Buffalo, Cedar, Fish [Trimont], George, Sisseton.

MCLEOD: Marion, Swan [silver Lake], Winsted.

MEEKER: Jennie, Star, Thompson.

MURRAY: Bloody, Buffalo [Currie], Corabelle, Currant, First (South) Fulda, Lime, Louisa, Sarah, Shetek, Wilson (North & South Basins).

NOBLES: East Graham, Indian, Kinbrae, Okabena, Ocheda, West Graham.

PIPESTONE: Split Rock.

RICE: Circle, Cody.

SIBLEY: Silver [Henderson].

STEELE: Kohlmeier.

WASECA: Elysian, Loon [Waseca].

WATONWAN: Fedji, Kansas, St. James.

WINONA: Winona.

YELLOW MEDICINE: Tyson, Wood.

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