Otto staff provides information for Wright County Journal Press

Buffalo Lake no wake resolution, bus services addressed by Board

Last Friday, June 27, a survey crew shot the water level of Buffalo Lake and measured an elevation of 918.41.  The OHW (ordinary high water level) of the lake is 914.73, and the highest known elevation is 919.65 (in 1997), said Cara Schwahn Otto of Otto Associates.  The photo shows one of several submerged docks on the north shore.  (Photo by Ed DuBois)



By Ed DuBois

            A no wake resolution for Buffalo Lake and bus services were two of the topics at the Wright County Board meeting last Tuesday, July 1.

            With the water level of Buffalo Lake near an all-time high due to excessive rain in June, the county commissioners considered concurrence with the City of Buffalo regarding the declaration of a no wake restriction for 30 days.

            Board Chair Chris Husom expressed reservations because the lake is touched by Rockford, Marysville and Chatham Townships, and the township boards have not had time to meet and discuss the matter in regard to whether or not to provide their support for the restriction.

            Husom and other board members were in general agreement that a better way to handle no wake restrictions is to establish a normal high water mark and set up no wake criteria well ahead of a possible emergency situation.  However, the high water is here now, and a no wake restriction would help reduce wave action, which can result in shoreline erosion and hamper flood control measures.

            Commissioner Mark Daleiden said major damage could occur while waiting too long to enact a no wake restriction.  He offered a motion to go ahead and pass the no wake resolution.  His motion passed 3-2 with Commissioners Daleiden, Mike Potter and Charlie Borrell in favor and Husom and Pat Sawatzke opposed.

            The no wake restriction for 30 days involves areas within 300 feet of the shore.

            Cara Schwahn Otto, senior vice president with the Otto Associates surveying and engineering company in Buffalo, recently told the Journal-Press that last Friday, June 27, their survey crew shot the water level of Buffalo Lake.  It measured an elevation of 918.41.  The OHW (ordinary high water level) of the lake is 914.73 and the highest known elevation, according to the Minnesota DNR, is 919.65 (in 1997).

            She was asked about 1965, and she said the 1997 elevation is what the DNR lists as the highest known level, but their online records don't go back to 1965.  (See  FEMA has the 100 year flood elevation set at 922, so it's likely there were higher levels at one time, Otto said.

            The county commissioners discussed the idea of addressing no wake criteria with all lake associations this fall.