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O'Brien Water Level Issue
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gola_images/LGOLA0057.jpg O'Brien Dam, photo submitted by Mike Flynn, 2008.

March 31, 2009 Update:
Kent Lokkesmoe of the DNR informed Mike Flynn that, sometime during the month of April, a six inch high, 400 hundred metal stop log will be permanently welded on the dam on Lake O'Brien at an elevation of 1234.8'. This work is authorized under a permissive permit that has been signed and filed with the DNR by Kent Lokkesmoe. A copy of that permit will be posted to this website soon.

Many people helped with this but a special thanks goes to Mike Flynn, Bob and Pat Mattson, and Marty Peterson for there persistent efforts.Thanks also to Senator Olson and Representative Howes for their assistance.

August 6th, 2008 Update:
When the stop log on the dam was removed early this spring, Marty Peterson was told by a conversation officer that the stop log was illegal and could no longer be put on the dam, a process that had been going on for 20 years. The message was delivered to Marty by a conservation officer who recently purchased property that is fed by the stream that flows from the dam. As you recall, the stop log raised the level of the lake by 6 inches and made the lake more usable for all home owners.

Mike Flynn contacted Senator Mary Olson in early May of this year to solicit her help. Her help and guidance on this issue has been invaluable. She has contacted the DNR, including Marty Holsten (the commissioner), to see what can be done. Bob Mattson found a state statute that we felt would allow the continued use of the stop log. The statute was sent to Senator Olson (who is also an attorney) who forwarded it to the commissioner. We were told the statute was not applicable but not given a reason why it is not applicable. This issue is still being pursued by Senator Olson.

Representative Howes has also recently been involved. Mr. Howes is aware that we have a petition signed by over 110 of the 122 homes on the lake. Mr. Howes suggested we go through a formal permit process to get the water level raised 6 inches. He has contacted a couple of people at the DNR who have committed to help this application get expedited. The 32 page permit was submitted on Thursday of last week. The permit fee was $150 which will be paid by GOLA.

When the dam at the south end of O'Brien was built it established the elevation of the lake at 1234.3. At sometime after the dam was built beavers built a dam near the concrete dam. When removing the beaver dam with explosives the concrete dam was damaged so that it no longer holds the water level at 1234.3. For at least ten years residents have put a board across the top of the dam which fixes the leakage below 1234.3 and raises the lake elevation to approximately 1234.8. Residents have also removed beaver dams manually when they were built, GOLA had been hiring trappers to remove beavers.

Last year the DNR gave verbal permission to install the board. This year permission to install the board was not given. A beaver dam was built and water level began to rise. Then the beaver dam and beavers appear to have been removed by unknown person or persons.

Several residents are working to have the water level restored to 1234.8. Senator Mary Olson has been contacted for assistance. She has been very supportive of the situation and has written a letter to DNR commissioner Mark Holsten. We are waiting for a response from the commissioner.