DNR assists with bog cleanup in Onamia


The bogs of Onamia have been a problem for years. They’re actually clumps of cattails that lose their grip on the bottom and float across Lake Onamia, often blocking the outlet where the Rum River exits the lake.

The bogs can create a dam that raises the water levels on the lake, which can be detrimental to the manoomin. This spring, some clumps of bog floated down the river and created a dam at the Sioux Line Trail trestle in the town of Onamia.

As the level of the river rose above the dam, some residents in Onamia were reporting issues with flooded basements.
At the request of the Minnesota DNR, the Band implemented an emergency contract with local excavator Chad Milton, who on May 4 used a track hoe to break up the bog pieces and allow a smooth and free flow of water, which resulted in the
water levels dropping upstream.

It was tricky work because the river had scoured out some deep holes, and some of the bays of the trestle had cross braces that impeded the use of the hoe to remove material. Once the bog was pulled out, water levels began to rise downstream, so he had to exit the river quickly.

In the future, the Band and Minnesota DNR plan to work together to do preventative work in Lake Onamia using equipment the state is purchasing to grind up some of the sediment parts of the bog to allow the vegetative parts to safely flow downstream.

If additional bog material makes its way down from the lake, another round of cleanup may be needed.