BLOOMINGTON, Minn. (WCCO) — Normandale Lake is a man-made body of water, but the problems happening both above and below the surface can be blamed on nature.

“It’s kind of sad. I used to walk around this all the time and now it’s all drained down and it’s got the big green leaves taking over,” Mary Jacobson said.

Choking the lake is curly-leaf pondweed, an invasive plant that prevents native plants from growing, throwing off the lake’s natural balance.

Drastic weeds call for drastic measures.

That’s why the Nine Mile Creek Watershed District, along with the city of Bloomington, decided to drain the lake.

The water is being pumped out so when winter hits, the bottom of the lake can freeze, killing off the pondweed. Crews will then use herbicide to help take care of any remaining pondweed.

A big concern going into this project is the animals that live in the lake. Fish are expected to naturally make their way into the creek and birds can fly away, but what about the turtles?

Crews put up black fences around the lake to help guide turtles safely into Nine Mile Creek to hibernate for the winter.

“We want them to stay off the roads, of course, so it provides them a guide and a way to stay off the road,” said Erica Sniegowski, Nine Mile Creek Watershed District project manager.

The water is being pumped downstream into Nine Mile Creek, leaving behind a very different scene than the one you see now.

“You will see the bottom of the lake in parts of it, but this fall you will see a lot of vegetation. There are a lot of plants in Normandale Lake,” Sniegowski said.

This technique may seem extreme, but it’s worked before. Crews were able to eliminate the pondweed from two lakes in Eden Prairie that were drained in 2008.

The total cost of the project is expected to ring in at $370,000.

The lake is expected to be full again with water in the spring of 2019. It will refill naturally from Nine Mile Creek, which flows through it.

You can find more information on the project here.

Mary McGuire

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