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City warns of thin ice on Colby and Battle Creek lakes

Battle Creek Lake will have an aeration system put in place this winter. The City of Woodbury cautions visitors to observe thin ice signs. (Bulletin photo by Youssef Rddad)

The City of Woodbury is warning ice anglers, snowmobilers and other outdoor enthusiasts to observe thin-ice signs on lakes this winter.

The city plans to begin running its aeration system on Colby Lake and Battle Creek Lake in early January, which could create thin-ice hazards on areas around the lakes.

Aeration systems are typically used on lakes or ponds to prevent fish and other aquatic life from dying due to lack of oxygen. The systems, however, create nearby bodies of open water and thin ice.

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources issued a similar warning in December.

"Open water areas created by aeration systems can shift or change shapes depending on weather conditions," said DNR aquatic biologist Marilyn Danks in a statement. "Leaks may develop in air lines, creating other areas of weak ice or open water."

The aeration system on Colby Lake is located on the southwest edge near Edgewood Park. The system at Battle Creek Lake is near the fishing pier, north of the lake's public access point.

Perimeters around the aeration system will have orange and white signs indicating thin ice.

Before going out onto lakes or ponds, the DNR has the following guidelines for ice thickness: 4 inches for ice fishing and on-foot activities; 5 inches for snowmobiling or ATV; 8-12 inches for driving cars or small pickup trucks; 12-15 inches for a medium pickup truck.

The DNR also recommends checking ice conditions before venturing onto a lake because ice thickness typically varies across a body of water.

Other Washington County lakes using aeration systems include Big Marine, Cloverdale, Goose, McDonald, Pine Tree, Sand, Shields, Sunset and White Bear.

Woodbury plans to turn on its aeration systems around Jan. 9, lasting until the ice melts.