MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – The Department of Natural Resources is planning to hold a listening session Thursday night on the plan to protect water levels on White Bear Lake.

The session is slated to be held at Century College and begin with an open house at 5 p.m., which will be followed by a DNR presentation
on protective elevation at 6:30 p.m. After that, there’ll be time for comments.

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Last December, the DNR set a protective elevation for the lake at 922 feet above sea level. If the elevation were to dip below that level, restrictions to water appropriation would kick in.

The protective elevation strategy was put in place to protect the lake’s fish and wildlife habitat, as well as ensure that it can support recreation.

Recently, the lake has seen a rise in water levels. Heavy spring rains brought the lake to the highest levels it’s been since 2005. Even the lake’s major beach, which had been closed for nearly a decade, is set to open this month.

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Still, residents in the area have blamed the DNR for the lake levels falling in the first place.

A citizens group is suing the DNR, asking that there be a ban on lawn sprinkling in the area to preserve lake water. A decision on that lawsuit is expected later this summer.

The DNR says that it’s normal for lake levels to fluctuate, and the recent rise in the lake is proof of that.

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Meanwhile, some are planning to build a multi-million dollar pipeline that would pump water from nearby East Vadnais Lake to ensure lake levels on White Bear Lake don’t drop in the future.