Lake Pepin is home to diverse aquatic habitats and awe-inspiring eagles, long-time boaters and first-time water-skiers, opaque foggy mornings and sublime summertime sunsets. But the lake is filling up with sediment, and unless something is done, our children may yet see the twilight of the region's most notable natural fixture.
Thankfully, nearly eight years ago, Mike McKay started the Lake Pepin Legacy Alliance. While McKay died last year, Rylee Main now leads the organization.
The Lake Pepin Legacy Alliance is presenting their goals, programs and questions to four communities during late spring and early summer. If you're interested in their work, concerned about the lake or simply have thoughts to share, make sure to attend one of the meetings.
Lake Pepin Legacy Alliance will present at 6 p.m. Monday, May 8, at the Lake City City Hall; 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, May 10, at Village Hall in Bay City; 7 p.m. Monday, May 22, at Red Wing City Hall; and 6 p.m. Tuesday, June 6, at Village Hall in Maiden Rock.
"At the upcoming meeting in Red Wing, and at the other meetings, we'll update officials and the public on our proposed objectives for restoring the head of the lake," said Main. "There are some critical questions about the project that require public input, and we want to ensure each affected community is involved every step of the way."
Main provided some highlights on the organization's recent work.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will study any beneficial uses of the sand and sediment that has been dredged and stored. One possibility includes constructing islands and land extensions to promote stronger habitat growth.
With Audubon Minnesota, the Lake Pepin Legacy Alliance wrote a resolution outlining the importance of habitat and water quality in Lake Pepin. In addition to considerable local support, Rep. Jason Lewis issued a letter of support.
The Community Watch Initiative allows residents and visitors to monitor Lake Pepin's water quality. Simply take a photograph, go to www.lakepepinlegacyalliance.org/community-watch-initiative, and use the "locate me" feature on the photo site.
Lake Pepin means different things to different people, but it means something to everyone. Connect with the Lake Pepin Legacy Alliance this spring to learn what you can do to help, or go online to www.lakepepinlegacyalliance.org to learn more.