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Lake Christina enhancement project kicks off September 11

A project six years in the making will finally get its start when the Lake Christina Enhancement Project kickoff celebration is held September 11 at the Lake Christina public access.

The 4,000-acre project near Ashby in Douglas and Grant counties is Ducks Unlimited's (DU) flagship shallow lake enhancement project this year. The restoration project was made possible by a 2009 grant to DU from the first year of the Outdoor Heritage Fund.

Lake Christina had long been known for attracting hundreds of thousands of waterfowl each spring and fall. Those numbers began to dwindle due to a combination of prolonged high-water levels and the over population of rough fish that had gotten in from surrounding lakes. The poor water quality had almost eliminated the aquatic food resources that attracted these waterfowl species to the area.

Work began in 2003 to try and combat the problem. Ducks Unlimited began its involvement with a conservation plan that included an aerial application of rotenone. Fish barriers were also installed between Lakes Ina and Anka and from Nycklemoe Slough to keep rough fish from entering Lake Christina.

Work will begin later this September in what they hope will be a permanent solution to making Lake Christina one of the best waterfowl destinations in the state once again. Construction crews will install a permanent electric pump station that will allow the Minnesota DNR to conduct temporary water level draw-downs. The purpose is to enhance its aquatic ecology for ducks and other migratory birds. Ducks Unlimited recently awarded a construction contract for the $1.5 million project.

Anyone interested in wetland and waterfowl conservation is invited to attend the kickoff celebration next Saturday. Speakers will include representatives from the partner organizations who are contributing to the project. The local Viking Sportsmen's Club is a part of that group of conservationists offering their support.

The ceremony is scheduled to start at 1:30 p.m. from the public access at the intersection of Highway 82 and County Road 57, approximately two miles southeast of Ashby. Those attending are also invited to attend the Christina-Ina-Anka Lake Association's annual fundraiser dinner at the Melby Outpost in nearby Melby from 3-8 p.m.