Aerator Systems Now In Use On Some Area Lakes

Thu 1-7-2021

(Orleans)-- Aeration systems are now in operation on several area lakes. Mike Hawkins, a fisheries biologist with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources tells KUOO news the systems have recently gone into service for the winter on Center Lake and Silver Lake in Dickinson county and Ingham Lake in Emmet county...Aerator Reminders01 

"What that does, Steve, is it provides an area of refuge in the case that low oxygen conditions start to occur on any of those three lakes. They were traditionally put into lakes that had some history of winter kill events that occur when oxygen levels plummet during harsh winter conditions, heavy ice and snow cover, or during extremely low water periods as well. It doesn't necessarily prevent a fish kill, but it can lessen the severity of a fish kill during the winter by just simply providing those fish with some refuge. It does not actually aerate the water as the name implies. It creates an open area where the atmosphere can contact the water and you can have that infusion of gas back and forth. So it provides kind of a small area of refuge."

Hawkins says lake users need to be aware the systems are in operation and to keep their distance from them...Aerator Reminders02 

"We try our best to keep those areas signed. We put perimeter signs up all the way around the aeration hole. We also have signs warning folks that aeration units are in use at major entry points on those lakes as well, so definitely. And we're just getting the word out to remind folks that those areas are open. And it's also a really good reminder that folks should be using extreme caution when they're out on the ice anyway. We did notice some areas of weak ice while we were out doing our perimeter signs and, you know, when we're out working on the ice of course we're drilling holes ahead of us very often as we move across the ice to make sure that integrity is good and so. These aeration holes are well signed but there's a lot of natural hazards out there on the lakes right now that are not signed and folks just need to be cognizant of that."

When it comes to oxygen levels in area lakes, Hawkins says they are very good as of right now. He attributes that to a late freeze up and a lack of snow cover.