RICE -- After a one year delay, the drawdown on Little Rock Lake in Benton County will be happening starting next Thursday.

DNR Fisheries Manager Eric Altena says the water will be lowered by about three feet over a 36 hour period.

He says that will allow natural vegetation to regrow along the shoreline.

And those plants are valuable from the standpoint that they use nutrients, they provide fish habitat, and they provide shoreline stability as well which are all needed things within the reservoir, which includes 15 miles of river and the entire portion of Little Rock Lake.

Altena says over 50 landowners have also agreed to put native plants in front of their property, and with the help of the Boy Scouts, they'll be placing plants along public property.

Altena says boaters will need to use caution while the lake is lowered.

Both Stearns County and Benton County have asked to have a no wake zone over the entire two portions of the water basin, so basically from the Rice bridge to the Sartell dam and the entire portion of Little Rock Lake will be no wake restrictions.

At its deepest point, the lake is only 18 feet.

The water level will stay down for six weeks.  During the six week period, there will also be a big clean-up effort with dumpsters being placed at seven different locations for landowners to use.

Altena says should start to see some native vegetation regrowing already this year, with the benefits showing as soon as next year.

The total cost for the project is $235,000 with the bulk of the expense reimbursing the owners of the Eagle Creek Dam for lost revenue.

Have WJON News Sent to Your Inbox

Subscribe to the WJON Newsletter and have top local news headlines sent to your inbox every day.