Lake Orono Restoration and Enhancement (LORE)
The Lake Orono Restoration and Enhancement (LORE) project will improve the outdoor recreational experience for those who live in, or visit Elk River in a variety of ways.
Lake Orono, located entirely within the City of Elk River, is a shallow 300 acre lake that captures runoff from a large 611-square-mile watershed, located within the counties of Sherburne, Benton, Mille Lacs and Morrison.
Over time, sediment from development, litter, runoff, and other factors begins to settle on the bottom of any water body. As this sediment continues to build upward, the aquatic health of the lake/pond can become threatened, thus requiring dredging to restore its natural bottom.
Lake Orono is a reservoir formed by a dam on the Elk River. The dam is located on the southeast side of the lake along Main Street. In 1998, the lake was drawn down and sediment was removed by dredging. It was predicted the lake would need to be dredged again in roughly 20 years - which brings us to 2018.
In 2015, city staff began working with a group of Lake Orono property owners to update the Lake Orono Management Plan. On March 5, 2019 Governor Tim Walz signed a bill (HF 80) which included $1.5 million in grant funding to assist with the cost of dredging Lake Orono. The overall project is estimated to cost is estimated about $3.25 million. Additionally, $1 million will be funded through a local sales tax as part of Active Elk River. The remaining portion is still being secured.
Currently, city staff members are working with the Department of Natural Resources to ensure the proper permits are in place and the LORE meets all state and local regulations.
The overall goal of the LORE project is to remove sediment build up and ultimately restore the navigational depth of Lake Orono. In doing so, invasive plants are reduced, the health of aquatic wildlife is improved, and crews will also be able to add fish habitats before refilling the lake.
For many years, the City of Elk River has had an award-winning water protection plan in place. To learn more, click here.