Water Stabilization (TLID Sponsored)

Briggs Lake
Three Lake LID logo

Water Stabilization Project Summary
The Briggs Lake Chain experiences frequent periods of high water resulting in localized flooding and the need for observance of a No-Wake Ordinance. Therefore, water level stabilization is a priority for the residents.

In 2018, the Three Lake Improvement District (TLID) hired Wenck Associates to assess the cause(s) of the high-water conditions. They identified three hydrologic/hydraulic alternatives to improve water level stabilization and improve lake outlets. Potential positive impacts on Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) control and water quality for each alternative were also evaluated.

In 2020, Wenck concluded that the Bayou channel flow can be highly correlated to the overspill of the No-Wake zone limits in the lake chain. Three remediation alternatives were proposed: 

  1. A sheet pile weir be constructed underground at mouth of the Bayou channel
  2. A wetland area upstream from the Bayou be impounded by an earthen berm
  3. Increased crop cover be used in the watershed

The sheet pile weir structure is expensive, but would have the potential to provide permanent water elevation control. In addition, it would help reduce sediment flow from the sand delta and scouring within the wetland due to flow increase in the channel. Further, it could have a positive effect on the Briggs Lake Chain water quality, by reducing the amount of sediment and phosphorus entering the lakes. Each of the alternatives is being examined along with potential funding methods.

Other discussion

Water Level Logger

A waterlogger is automatic system to record lake levels.

The TLID has borrowed a Water Level Logger from the MPCA to monitor levels on Briggs. (measured every half hour & not available real time)

The TLID purchaced a waterlogger deployed on ELK lake which can be viewed real time from the linked web site below.(measured every hour)

The following is a live link to the Elk lake data:

To see public viewer of water depth and temperature sensor, click on button below and then click on the dial gauge on upper left.

Water logger locations on Big Elk

Water Levels and Temperature Charts

Hourly measurements are matched by time stamp and graphed below.

Briggs measurements are a radar device that runs on solar power and not damaged by cold weather, however the data had issues in the winter when battery levels were low and snow/ice affected radar signal.

Elk measurements are taken with a pressure transducer which would be damaged if exposed to freezing weather, so equipment is brought indoors during the winter. Calibration after spring deployment (Installed May 10th) will be done when data is available from DNR site later in month.

5/16 – Briggs levels crested during the night!!!!
If rate of drop stays the same, levels should be back around 5/20. (see math curve in chart for estimate)

Elk crest is about 9 hours behind Briggs so end of day on the 19th is the math predicted back to normal levels.

2021to 2022 Briggs and Elk lakes water levels over time (ELK not yet calibrated for 2022 and Briggs winter readings conflicted by cold & ice)
2017-2020 Days the Elk River >2ft above normal high
2017-2020 Days the Elk River is 2 ft. above normal
May-Oct 2021 Elk River water level in percent vs time
May-Oct. 2021 Percentages of of Briggs and the Elk water levels over time
2021-2022 Elk River Daily Temperature
  • Extra Testing Done in 2019:
  • Periodic flow velocity measurements
  • Tape-down measurements (stream height) • Water quality sampling
  • Precipitation events
  • Baseline conditions