from the Nebraska Department of Environment and Energy

For more information,contact
Brian McManus (402) 471-4223, or
Amanda Woita (402) 471-4243
For Immediate Release
December 18, 2009
issued jointly from the
Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality
and the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission

Improvements to Lake Ogallala completed ahead of schedule

Major renovation work to improve circulation at Lake Ogallala has been mostly completed, well ahead of the predicted completion schedule of next Spring.

The renovation is designed to improve circulation at the lake, which is one of the state’s premier trout fisheries. The only work remaining is the planting of wetland grasses and other plants, which will likely be completed in March, 2010.

Historically, the lake has suffered from episodes of low dissolved oxygen. Crews from the Central Nebraska Public Power and Irrigation District (CNNPID) began excavating a channel in late September that is aimed at improving circulation and enhancing the aquatic habitat of the lake. The work was completed on December 3, and water will begin flowing to the lake once again this winter. Trout will be stocked in late winter or early spring, after water levels and habitat conditions have stabilized.

Along with the channel, the lake was chemically treated with rotenone on October 20th to remove undesirable fish species, such as carp, white suckers and alewife. Nebraska Public Power District and CNPPID also took advantage of the low water to carry out maintenance projects on the Keystone Diversion Canal gates and the Kingsley Hydro-electric facility, respectively.

Original planning indicated the lake would likely need to be lowered for several weeks in the Spring of 2010 to allow for completion of the project. In spite of heavy October snow, however, the workers were able to finish ahead of schedule. Along with being completed sooner, the project will not cost as much as budgeted.

Partners in these projects include the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission, Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality, Nebraska Public Power District and The Central Nebraska Public Power and Irrigation District, with funding coming from the Nebraska Environmental Trust Fund and the Environmental Protection Agency. Olsson Associates provided the technical assistance for the channelization project.

For more information, contact:
Patrick O’Brien, NDEQ/NARD Liaison, (402) 471-2219
Brian McManus, NDEQ Public Information Office, (402) 471-4223
Jim Bunstock, NDEQ Public Information Office (402) 471-4243
Dave Tunink, Game and Parks Commission, (402) 471-5553