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Dam Owner Holds Water Hostage on Friendship Lake
Weeds and algae are prolific on Friendship Lake, some bays are dry and in many cases, docks are unusable due to only inches of water or no water at all. Thick, black muck lines the shore.

On 115-acre Friendship Lake, frustration is high, the mood foul and the water levels too low for many of the lake’s 110 property owners. The fix, they say, is easy.

Chuck Pheiffer, 68, owns the hydroelectric dam that not only produces electricity but controls the lake’s water levels. Pheiffer has been trying to sell the dam for the past five years and has made little progress. But now he’s getting attention.

The lower water level makes it safer for Pheiffer to operate his dam and reduces his liability in the case of a major rain storm, he says. It also has created controversy here that is forcing some to speak up and urge Adams County to buy the dam from Pheiffer.

Pheiffer is critical of power boaters and of the Friendship Lake District, which turned down an offer to buy the dam and in the past has used cutters to keep weeds at bay. However, this year, the Lake District has been unable to launch the machines due to the low water levels.

Pheiffer said a dam failure analysis, required by the DNR, would cost about $11,000 while the dam itself probably needs about $50,000 in improvements for concrete work and upgrades to modernize the generator. Pheiffer offered to sell the dam in 2010 to the Lake District for what would have equaled about $200,000 but was turned down. He is now asking $1.2 million for the property.


 
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Minnesota aquatic invasive species control - Minnesota DNR is stepping up efforts to prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species. Armed with tougher laws and more costly penalties for violators, the DNR will staff portable “stop-and-inspect” stations as well as portable “decontamination” boat washers to spray down watercraft and trailers thought to be carrying invasive species such as zebra mussels, Asian carp, round gobies, spiny water fleas, and Eurasian watermilfoil.


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