Ice hazard warning issued for aerated lakes

State officials are asking people to be cautious while venturing onto any lakes covered in ice, especially on lakes that have aeration systems.

Marilyn Danks, an aquatic biologist with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, said aeration systems can cause currents that weaken ice.

"The aeration system creates bubbles or movement in the water, currents, that then create a hole in the ice," Danks said.

Aeration systems have been active in some state lakes for over two decades. Danks said they are to prevent fish die-offs from lack of oxygen.

"It's a technique that's proven to work to provide a refuge for fish to get them through the tougher times of winter when the oxygen levels get low in lakes," Danks said. "It's not meant to totally oxygenate a whole lake, but to provide a refuge."

There are 280 lakes in Minnesota that have aeration systems, according to the DNR. Signs warning of thin ice are posted at lakes that have aeration systems.

Ice-related deaths in Minnesota since 1976

But even lakes without aeration can be dangerous. The DNR says about 4 inches of ice is typically safe for individuals, but not for snowmobiles or other vehicles.

"People should be aware of the ice conditions, take precautions, let people know when they've gone out on the ice and provide an itinerary of when they expect to be back," Danks said. "Take along some safety gear like ice picks or a flotation device or even a rope."

LAKES WITH PERMITTED AERATION SYSTEMS IN MINNESOTA FROM THE MINNESOTA DNR

When there are lakes in the county with the same name as the aerated lake, the nearest town is shown in brackets. Names in parentheses are alternate lake names. Those names followed by an asterisk are newly aerated lakes.

REGION 1 (NORTHWEST)
COUNTY: LAKE
BECKER: Big Cormorant, Bijou, Ellison, Eunice, Island, Little Cormorant, Melissa, Wolf.
BELTRAMI: Ewert's Pond.
CLAY: Blue Eagle, Lake Fifteen.
CLEARWATER: Pine.
DOUGLAS: Aldrich.
HUBBARD: Wolf.
OTTER TAIL: Adley, Big McDonald, Big Pine,* Fish (Parkers Prairie), Fish (Pelican Rapids), Lida, Little
MacDonald, Little Pine, Lizzie, Marion, Paul, Pelican, Perch, Rush,* Tamarac, West McDonald.
POLK: Badger, Cable, Maple.
POPE: Signalness.
STEVENS: Hattie, North and South Baker.
WADENA: Stocking.

REGION II (NORTHEAST)
AITKIN: Cedar (McGrath).
CASS: Eagle, George, Loon, Meadow.
CROW WING: Nisswa.
LAKE: Farm, Superior (Marinas).
ST. LOUIS: Colby.

REGION III (CENTRAL)
ANOKA: Centerville, Coon, Crooked, Golden, Ham, Martin, Moore (East), Peltier, Shack Eddy, Spring.
CARVER: Eagle, Lucy, Oak, Rice Marsh, Susan.
CHISAGO: Moody.*
CROW WING: Platte.
DAKOTA: Alimagnet, Bald, Blackhawk, Bur Oaks, Carlson, Cliff, East Thomas, Farquar, Fish, Gun Club, Hay, Heine, Holland, Isabelle, LeMay, Manor, Marion, McDonough,* Pickerel, Rebecca [Hastings], Roger's, Schwanz, Thomas (Eagan), Thompson.
GOODHUE: Pottery Pond [Red Wing], Frontenac Pond.
HENNEPIN: Arrowhead, Bass, Cedar Island,* Crystal, Gleason, Hadley, Hyland, Indianhead, Mitchell, Penn (Lower Penn), Powderhorn, Rebecca [Maple Plain], Red Rock, Round, Shady Oak,* Snelling, Sweeney-Twin, Thomas, Wirth, Wolfe.
KANABEC: Knife, Mora.*
MORRISON: Alexander, Shamineau.
RAMSEY: Beaver, Bennett, Birch, Como, Gilfillan, Island, Loeb, Otter, Owasso, Pleasant, Silver (East Silver), Silver (Columbia Heights), Shoreview Community Center Pond, Vadnais, Willow.
SCOTT: Cedar (New Prague), Cleary, Crystal, Krenz(Sunset), Lakefront Park Pond, Legends, McColl, McMahon (Carls), Murphy, O'Dowd, Thole.
SHERBURNE: Ann [Becker], Birch, Fremont, Masford, Unnamed (Fawn).
STEARNS: Black Oak, Carnelian, Marie (Maria) [Kimball].
TODD: Jacobs.
WASHINGTON: Battle Creek (Mud) [Woodbury], Cloverdale, Colby,* Goose, McDonald, Pine Tree, Sand, Shields, St. Croix River (Marina).
WINONA: Winona.
WRIGHT: Augusta, Crawford, Dean, Foster, Little Waverly, Louisa, Mink, Somers, Sylvia.

REGION IV (SOUTH)
BIG STONE: Artichoke, East Toqua, Long Tom.
BLUE EARTH: Crystal, Ida, Loon [Lake Crystal], Lura, Mills.
BROWN: Clear, Hanska, Sleepy Eye.
COTTONWOOD: Bean, Bingham, Cottonwood, Double (North and South basins), Mountain [Mountain Lake].
FARIBAULT: Rice.
FREEBORN: Albert Lea, Fountain, Morin.
JACKSON: Clear [Jackson], Independence, Little Spirit, Loon [Jackson], Pearl, Round.
KANDIYOHI: East Solomon, Elizabeth, Foot, Long, Mud (Monongalia) [New London], Nest, Ringo [Spicer], Swenson [Pennock], Unnamed (Tadd), Unnamed (Upper), Wakanda, Willmar.
LESUEUR: Clear [Lexington], Gorman, Greenleaf, Mabel [Kilkenny], Scotch, Silver [Elysian].
LINCOLN: Benton, Dead Coon, Hendricks, Shaokatan, Stay (East Stay).
LYON: Clear, Cottonwood, East Goose, East Twin, Lady Slipper, Rock, School Grove, West Twin, Yankton.
MARTIN: Big Twin, Budd, Buffalo, Cedar, Clear, Fish [Trimont], George, Sisseton.
MCLEOD: Marion, Swan [Silver Lake], Winsted.
MEEKER: Star, Thompson.
MURRAY: Bloody, Buffalo [Currie], Corabelle, Current, First (South) Fulda, Fox, Lime, Louisa, Sarah, Second Fulda, Shetek, Wilson (North and South basins).
NOBLES: East Graham, Indian, Kinbrae, Okabena, Ocheda, West Graham.
PIPESTONE: Split Rock.
RICE: Circle, Cody.
SIBLEY: Silver [Henderson].
STEELE: Kohlmeier.
WASECA: Elysian, Loon [Waseca].
WATONWAN: Fedji, Kansas, St. James.
YELLOW MEDICINE: Tyson, Wood.

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