Aquatic invasive species (AIS) are organisms (plant or animal) that invade ecosystems beyond their natural, historic range. They are a serious threat to native ecosystems, recreational enjoyment and property values. They may even harm our health.
Because lakes are available to everyone, the spread of AIS is unpreventable. Infestation is not a matter of “If”, but rather “when” and “how bad”. DNR regulations to treat AIS have evolved over the years but today the rules continue to be very restrictive.
Your lake association has been working hard to lessen the detrimental impact of these invaders. We have teamed up with the Middle Fork Little Crow Water District (MFCRWD), Kandiyohi County, the Department of Natural Resources and the University of Minnesota to monitor and manage water quality.
Nine years ago a lake survey performed by the DNR indicated a presence of Curley-leaf
Pondweed (CLP) in Diamond Lake. 2012 was the first year of chemical treatment of CLP at Diamond Lake, with a cost of $6,000. Under DNR supervision, $6,000 was again spent for spraying along the northwest shore the following year and $9,000 was budgeted in 2014. No work was done in 2015 but in 2016 twenty-one acres were treated just off Breezy Point with a budget of nearly $29,000. Chemical was applied to 20 acres along the east side of Breezy Point and the northeast shore in 2017.
In 2018 the DNR could no longer survey lakes in Minnesota because the weed problem had grown to exceed the resources of the department. By then, grant funding for treatment had gotten very competitive and in some cases had dried up. At Diamond Lake, concentrated spot treatment costing $11,500 in extremely heavy infestations in a 20 acre area were performed in 2018.
In the Fall of 2018 a survey of the lake was performed and the results did not contain good news. A heavy presence of CLP in two areas along the western shores of the lake and on the eastern side of Breezy Point was discovered. It was becoming apparent that our treatments were not keeping up with the rising increases of infestation. Up until this point, the cost for treatment had been shared 50/50 between the Kandiyohi County Water Task Force and your lake association.
After extensive research, your association hired a different vendor, Limnopro, to apply chemical on 20 acres in the problem areas identified in the 2018 survey. We also ordered an extensive survey around the entire lake in the spring of 2019 to determine the seriousness of the problem. The June 2019 survey results showed severe CLP infestations in the southeastern third of the lake that called for treatment of 83 acres. The projected cost for treatment was budgeted to be $79,000 and Kandiyohi County provided $9000 in grant money toward the project.
The remaining $70,000 came from real estate property tax assessment funds. The Middle Fork Crow River Water District administers the handling of the real estate tax funds and helps us write a project work plan to control AIS each year. The work plan provides a good overview but the actual process covers 17 months for each treatment that we do annually.
The process begins each year with a survey the lake in June. Based on the findings, a budget andgrant application is submitted to Kandiyohi County in July. Preliminary DNR permitting is obtained in late summer and estimates for chemical applications by vendors are obtained. The following spring a second survey to finalize the treatment areas is performed to allow us to pinpoint the critically needed treatment areas. This also helps us to get the best outcome for money spent. Approval for the treatment to be performed is considered by the DLARA Board along with payment for the work upon satisfactory completion. The timing of the mid-June
chemical application is critical and approval of the completed work plan triggers a transfer of the real estate assessment funds from MFCRWD to DLARA. The invoice for treatment is paid and we write a report for submission to Kandiyohi County. The claim for the county grant money is submitted and it is usually paid out in November
Despite the creation of many regulations since Curley-leaf Pondweed was first discovered in Minnesota, the weed continues to spread. Today the weed can be found in most Minnesota lakes and if it is left unchecked, snarling mats of weeds floating on the surface can bring boat traffic to a halt. Treatment options continue to be restrictive and unfortunately they are also expensive. But your lake association is doing its best to manage this serious problem by making thoughtful, prudent decisions regarding the money you have entrusted to us. If you would like to learn more or have a discussion, please email me at email@example.com.