Fountain Lake restoration enters final phase

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(ABC 6 News) – The final phase to complete the Fountain Lake restoration project will be underway after Albert Lea received $9 million from the Minnesota legislature.

Fountain Lake is a very important part to the community in Albert Lea, but for many years it’s been dealing with a problem.

Caused by high levels of phosphorous, algae has been growing into the lake, causing it to turn green.

Over the past decade, the Shell Rock River Watershed District has been fighting this algae invasion and now, it’s entering the final stage.

“We’ve been already seeing huge benefits from the first two phases we’ve done and really seen some really good water quality and we hear it from the public,” SRRWD administrator Andy Henschel said.

The objective is to remove all of the algae from the lake to restore the clarity and quality of the water.

Imagine sucking all the dirt and gunk from your bathtub, well that bathtub is the lake.

After receiving additional money from the Minnesota legislature bonding bill, the project can now finally get done.

“The lake is a huge asset to this community I mean people enjoy it to be out doing water sports, you got a lot of people out there fishing every day, people just going around the lake on the bike path walking paths and just enjoying it,” Albert Lea Mayor Richard Murray said.

The hydraulic dredge operates like a vacuum cleaner, removing any sediment that is plaguing the water.

They have done it before and it has worked. Now, they have the money to do it again. After removing the algae-they discovered the lake was deeper than they thought.

Once listed on Minnesota’s impaired waters list, the fountain lake restoration project is working to make the lake safe and clean again so everyone can enjoy it.

“Right now it’s kind of dirty it’s mucky in front of us, but I’m hoping it gets cleaned up,” Albert Lea resident Kristie Lau said.

There’s a lot of prep work that needs to get done and it can take up to a year before the real work begins.