Lake Loretta Q&A Transcript

Here is the transcript of the Lake Loretta Q&A session held last night at the Draper Town Hall. It is lengthy but I want everyone to be able to read it so they are up to date on the status of the lake:
On June 13, 2022 at 5PM Jay Kozlowski addressed the citizens of Draper on the Lake Loretta dam repair project, starting with a history of the DNR identifying a “significant hazard risk” two years ago which changed the county’s inspection to annual instead of every 3-5 years. The repair project was designed and engineered and considerations of wildlife were made, and alternatives such as a coffer dam vs. drawdown were investigated. The county said no to a coffer dam. The approved cost to repair the dam with a drawdown method was $630,000. The project met delays for the past 2 years: when it finally went out on bid only one bid was received for $967,000.00. After consulting with the Town, Jay was able to come up with a way to save almost $100,000.00 in cost and this was presented to the Land, Water & Forest Resources Committee and then the Finance Committee, where it passed. It still goes before the full Sawyer County Board this Thursday, June 17 at 6:30 pm for a budget amendment and final approval. Jay then outlined the tentative timeline for the project, if approved: August 15 start the drawdown at 6” per day. September 5 drawdown complete, concrete work starts. September 15 complete concrete repairs. October 15 all onsite work complete. Over winter fabricate new steel gates. April 3, 2023 refill water. May 5, 2023 raise water level to normal pool. Fall of 2023 and fall of 2024 restocking of fish species in the lake. Following this outline, the floor was opened to questions by the citizens. Part way through when citizens began to challenge the dam repair, Jay gave them the current options the county is considering: the county can vote to go forward with the current plan and project and amend their budget to pay for the increased cost; if they do not approve it, the county could offer the option of charging $10-15,000.00 special assessments on lake property owners to pay for the dam; or they could remove the dam and return it to the Brunet River.
Q: Who will pay for and do the restocking of the lake?
A: Sawyer County, in consultation with the DNR fishery specialist Max Wolter.
Q: Does the project remove portions of the dam or just repair it?
A: Stop logs removed, concrete repaired with 3 inches of shotcrete, full steel gates installed in 2/4 of the
gates to control water levels, some stop logs repurposed (to remain in place)
Q: Where does the refill water come from?
A: Brunet and natural springs
Q: What if there’s a drought? Will there be a delay in refilling the water then?
A: Yes
Q: Will the boat landings remain open for people to fish the pockets left when the water is drained?
A: Probably not: complete drawdown, 100% fish kill expected and Dam Rd landing will be part of the
construction site
Q: Too many people fished the pockets in 2000, can it be posted “No Fishing” this time?
A: 100% fish kill anticipated, get fish out now- panfish limit raised to 25 per day in May and June
Q: Why are Northern Pike included in list of fish to be restocked? They are detrimental to musky fishery.
A: They are native species, Jay will ask Max Wolter. People could ask to leave them out.
Q: Is this expected to be more of a drawdown than in 2000?
A: Yes
Q: What will the size of restocked muskies be?
A: One foot
Q: Will safety fencing be installed on the roadways to keep people away from the site?
A: Dam Rd will be closed- detour on Knowles Rd
Q: What shoreline work can owners do?
A: Zoning and Conservation regulates above the high water mark: ordinance states no earth disturbance
allowed within 35’ of shore- no dredging, no excavating, no filling, no cutting. Owners are allowed to clear
35% of their total shoreline vegetation but must leave all trees larger than 6” in diameter. Below the high
water mark is DNR regulated: permits must be granted for any work below the high water mark. Contact
information for Dan Harrington will be provided by clerk.
Q: How much is a fine?
A: County is $767.50 citation and must restore the shoreland (DNR is higher fines)
Q: What about the loons?
A: No answer- not Jay’s area of expertise
Q: Will the drawdown affect aquifers near the lake?
A: No answer, engineers may have looked at that
Q: Will the Brunet continue at the same flow rate?
A: Yes
Q: Will Winter be notified of any downstream issues?
A: Yes
Q: Are the new panfish limits posted at the landings?
A: T. Heisler: Not sure, but limits are 25 panfish per day in May and June, no other limits have changed
Q: Can people fish in front of other properties in the mud during the drawdown?
A: Yes, unless owner owns under the lakebed (ie Zmudas)
Q: Can the fire department install a dry hydrant during the drawdown somewhere along the dam
embankment and service the other one above Blaisdell Lake Rd?
A: Likely yes, will need DNR permit form Dan Harrington
Q: Where is the old water going to go down?
A: Through the last stop gate
Q: After the drawdown, how much water will go through the river below the dam, will it be dry?
A: Engineers should have looked at this, not sure
Q: Will the beaver dams be removed below the dam so they don’t trap the fish coming through?
A: Ask Max Wolter/DNR if they looked at this or consulted APHIS
Q: Will the Town be improving the boat landings?
A: Probably no- DNR grant E. Peters looked at required $55,000.00 in matching funds from the town, and
also making it an ADA compliant facility. Also, Dam Rd. landing will be used during the construction. The
Town’s concern at this time is saving the lake.
Q: Who owns the land there?
A: County and Zmudas (adjacent)
Q: What will be done to mitigate blastomycosis in the lakebed mud?
A: Nothing can be done, it is a natural occurrence.
Q: Can owners work to improve the fishery with fish sticks or cribs?
A: Consult Max Wolter
Q: Can drones be used to locate beaver dams?
A: Not by county if they are made in China
Q: Are the silt barriers on Hwy 70 related to the dam project?
A: No, resurfacing of Hwy 70
Q: Is there a Loretta lake Association?
A: No, maybe there should be one
Q: Why have people been allowed to clear the shore, excavate, add riprap, cut down trees larger than 6”
and other shoreline violations? Zoning and DNR have been called to investigate on Geschel and Meyers
Rds and nothing happened.
A: A citation was issued and another owner had to repair the shoreline
Q: How many land use permits did Sawyer County Zoning issue last year?
A: 487 LUPs and 398 sanitary permits
Q: Will there be road closed signs?
A: Yes
Q: If the residents have to pay special assessments for the dam, will it become a private lake?
A: Not answered
Q: What is source of the rusty water that has always leaked downstream from the dam?
A: A natural spring maybe
Q: Would the citizens be interested in starting a Loretta Lake Association and/or having the clerk serve as
a point of contact for concerns, violations and status updates going forward?
A: One person said yes
Q: When is the Sawyer County Board meeting to decide on the dam project?
A: Thursday, June 17 at 6:30 pm in person or via Zoom: E. Klein will provide the link to the citizens.
Link to Sawyer County Board Meeting June 16 at 630 PM via Zoom: To view or participate in the virtual meeting from a computer, iPad, or Android device please go to :
You can also use the dial in number for listening only at 1-312-626-6799 with the Webinar ID: 950 1568 0309. If additional assistance is needed please contact the County Clerk’s Office at 715-634-4866 prior to the meeting. This meeting will be recorded and will be available on our website at:
Max Wolter, Fish Specialist DNR: [email protected]
Dan Harrington, Water Management Specialist, DNR: [email protected]