Due to recent spring flooding at the Tewaukon National Wildlife Refuge in rural Cayuga, Lake Tewaukon is currently draining because of damage to the lake’s dam, known as the North Bay Dam.
This damage was identified May 1. The North Bay Dam is the largest of four on the refuge and controls the Wild Rice River as it leaves Lake Tewaukon. This year’s spring flooding recently caused the greatest damage to this dam since it was improved in 1989.
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s regional engineering experts are assessing this situation.
The lake’s dam recently broke loose and cannot be repaired due to the high velocity of water, which is a safety hazard. While the damage cannot be safely repaired right now, this situation does not endanger critical infrastructure or human safety.
Lake Tewaukon is one of two lakes open to fishing on the refuge. Staff anticipate water levels in Lake Tewaukon will likely continue to drop in the near future, which may temporarily impact fishing opportunities. There are many factors that may impact how quickly and to what extent Lake Tewaukon drains, including the flow of Wild Rice River that feeds into the lake, precipitation, and groundwater levels.
It’s possible that Lake Tewaukon may temporarily drain to a mudflat habitat for a period of time that may not support game fish, according to a news release.
Fish stocking at Lake Tewaukon may be delayed due to the drainage issue, the release said. Staff will continue to communicate with state and local conservation partners, including the North Dakota Game and Fish Department and surrounding communities to address this problem, the release said.