DIAMOND LAKE AREA
The meeting was called to order by President Harlan Meints at 9:10 AM in the County Park 3 building. The board members who were present introduced themselves and told where they live on the lake. This included Bob Meyerson, Harlan Meints, Jim Teschendorf, Jerry Ebersviller, Wencel Kojetin, Tim Groshens, Ken Gutzwiller, Becky Ricklefs, Richard Phillips, and Lisa Piotrowski. The minutes of the June 21, 2008 Annual Meeting were read by Becky Ricklefs. Jim Teschendorf corrected the minutes to read “TMDL” instead of “TDML”. Jim motioned and Bob seconded to approve the minutes. Motion passed. Becky read the treasurer’s report in the absence of Jon Hanson. The total balance as of June 13 is $46,182.89. Jim motioned and Lisa seconded to approve the treasurer’s report. Motion passed. Bills of $112 from Thompson’s Bakery for coffee and donuts and from Tandem Printing for printing of the lake directory were presented. Jim motioned and Jerry seconded to pay the bills. Motion passed. To date, 147 members have paid for the year, with several more paying as they arrived for the meeting.
The fish trap has not been functional for 2 or 3 years. We are waiting for the DNR to decide if they will fund 1/3 of the cost of a new trap. The Watershed District has agreed to supply 1/3 of the cost, with the Lake Association funding the final 1/3. The DNR has said they will do labor and in-kind labor if they do not fund the project. We do have the money to pay for 2/3 of the project if the DNR doesn’t fund it. The project will cost approximately $20,000. Jim reported that the new trap will be a permanent structure and would be installed on the Diamond Lake side of the box culvert. Heavy rain would overflow and not flood around the area and it would trap carp from coming into the lake. Harlan informed us that the trees are being trimmed around the fish trap to gain access to the trap.
Bill and Joan Schultz have spearheaded the cutting of the curly pond leaf for many years. We currently have a permit and are waiting to cut it this year. We are looking for someone to take over this job. There is currently a large amount by Dog Fish Bay, in addition to previous areas that have been cut. The Lake Association applies and pays for the permit, but we must have people from that area to ask for and do the actual cutting. Bill said that the cutters are always in the shed at the park and that it takes a pontoon and at least three people to do the cutting. Presently, the cutters are at Bill’s house and ready to cut this year.
Harlan informed the group of a talk given by Terry Frazee at the county commissioner’s meeting on Tuesday. He spoke of zebra mussels that are showing up in Minnesota. There is no way to stop them and they can ruin a lake in ten years. They ruin the walleye fishing. The DNR is following this development. Green Lake also has Eurasian Milfoil. We have curly pond leaf. Paid members received a coupon for a free bag of phosphorus free fertilizer. Harlan informed us that one pound of phosphorus on a lawn or in clippings produces 400 pounds of algae and weeds in a lake. So, don’t throw grass on the road—instead throw the clippings back onto your lawn.
The association helped with money and time to study the septic issue. Every system around the lake was inspected and around 70% were noncompliant. These must be fixed by 2010. The Lake Association helped pay for the cost of these inspections and the wastewater committee has spent a lot of time working on this issue. Jim informed us that grant dollars funded the administration of the project and the analysis done. We received $22,000 in grant money. Bob reminded us that the wastewater committee was independent of the board of directors of the Lake Association and that the committee work was supervised by the Watershed District. The Lake Association wanted to remain neutral on the issue.
A dry fire hydrant has been installed on the east side of the lake by the access. This was done at no cost to us.
Two dumpsters were placed at the two accesses on the lake last winter. We paid for half the cost and Kandiyohi County Water Plan paid the other half. The cost was $170 apiece. We may continue this practice next year. Several other lakes are looking into a similar program with the county.
The Lake Association has been helping with the TMDL study. It will be finished this year. The lack of rain has made it necessary to continue the study longer than planned. We supply boats and people to help do the testing. Jim explained that every body of water has a capacity it can absorb. When one gets over its peak, we get algae bloom. The TMDL study tests the water in the lake and sources or water, concentrating on inlets. It is a way of checking that capacity. Because of the lack of rain, we aren’t getting much information. Since we are an impaired water, it is mandated that we do this testing. The results could cause limits on building on the lake by the state and federal authorities if we don’t address the problem. The worst-case scenario is that use of the lake could be eliminated. It would require a lawsuit by someone and 5 to 10 years to get to those extremes. Diamond Lake cannot add to the impairment of the Crow River, Lake Pepin, etc. These are all a result of the Clean Water Act. There are multiple impairments on a lake that TMDL studies can address. There are two options to address the problem. 1) Local development of a plan submitted to the PCA, which is then sent through the EPA. This takes two to ten years to implement and dollars have shrunk and costs have accelerated. 2) EPA comes up with a plan. This is an ongoing process that will never be over. Chad Anderson volunteered to have a meeting in Atwater this fall to explain the TMDL again to us. No one expressed an interest in such a meeting.
If you have a fire call at your home on Diamond Lake, you will be charged $500 from each fire department that responds. Some insurance companies have a rider to cover this. Residents might want to check their insurance and add it to their policy if this is not included. Rhonda Nordin said that their insurance paid $1500 for the fire calls to their house this winter, but they were charged $3700 by the Atwater Fire Department. Jon Hanson will gather more information on this policy and an article will be included in the next newsletter.
The Fourth of July boat parade will be held this year. Stan Lange is the parade marshall and will lead the parade. Boats should gather around 3:30 by the park and decorations and/or music are encouraged. The parade will progress clockwise around the lake.
John Ryan motioned and Ken seconded to have Jerry Ebersviller and Lisa Piotrowski to fill vacancies on the board until 2010. Motion approved.
Wencel does not want to run for the board again. Bruce Monson and Elaine Sietsema expressed interest in running for the board. Jim Teschendorf also is running again. Jim, Elaine, and a representative for Bruce all gave comments on why they want to be on the board. Motion was made and seconded to accept all three as nominees for the board. Later in the meeting, the vote results awarded seats on the board to Jim and Elaine.
Tim and Lisa are working on a grant application from the State of Minnesota to deal with non-point source pollution. It could be used to help with TMDL. A plan must be submitted by July 15. Jim and Lisa will take suggestions for projects until Monday at 5:00. They will also work with Chad at the Watershed for a better chance for funding.
Harlan informed those present of a timeline presented to the board on Sunday, June 14 by Gary Danielson and Brad DeWolf for a study of the possibility of installation of a loop from the Green Lake Sewer System around Diamond Lake. A feasibility study will be presented to the Kandiyohi County Board on July 7, 2009. Public Open Houses to present the feasibility study will be held July 31 at 7:00 PM and August 1 at 8:30 AM at a site to be announced. A public hearing on the proposal will be held August 7 at 7:00 PM with the County Board, where the board could authorize completion of plans and specifications. Residents will get letters from the county informing them of all public hearings.
The floor was opened for questions. It was asked if spraying could not be done instead of cutting weeds. It was stated that it is cost prohibitive and doesn’t always work because the spray blows and moves. The use of pebbles was also explored. You have to check with the provider about where they can be applied. Bill informed us that you can only cut in one place with a given permit and that you have to cut every year. You must have signatures from everyone where the weeds will pile up before you can cut. Nest Lake is looking into a $100,000 machine that cuts, piles up the weeds, etc. Harlan Madsen addressed several concerns about the septic systems around the lake. He said that approximately 70% were noncompliant, mainly due to separation. In 1996 changes were made to the law, but not the separation requirement. That has always been in place. The changes dealt with aerobic and nonaerobic ground. It was asked why systems that were passed by the county did not pass the inspection. Harlan stated the county never had inspectors come to the site. All systems were installed by certified installers and designers. Plans were submitted to the county, who has never looked at soil in the past because no one on staff is qualified to do that. Now state statute says that every installer must have two soil scientists inspect the site. The county certified the installer and the design, not the soil science. It was asked if you could ask for a variance for the 3 foot separation. Harlan said he had never heard of such a variance. It was asked what happens to abandoned septic systems. Harlan said the tank will be removed or smashed once it is cleaned or pumped out. He stated it is legal to do that and that the tank must be certified as abandoned after 2010. It was asked how people will pay for the loop. The process the county has in place is to pay up front or pay over the period of the bond (15 to 20 years) on your property taxes. Right now the interest rate would be 2 to 3% and you could pay if off anytime. Harlan said that removal of mounds it being discussed with the county and having the cost put on your taxes. No stimulus money is available for the projects because it wasn’t ready at the correct time to receive the money. We are indirectly being helped because Kandiyohi got stimulus money and we will be sharing the cost with them. The cost per household has gone from about $20,000 to $16,600. We will share the $2,000,000 cost with Kandiyohi. The percent of our share with Kandiyohi is still up for discussion. Anyone can get an extension if the permit for their septic system has expired as long as it does not present an imminent threat until a decision is made on the loop. A holding tank is an option for some people with a 2500 gallon holding tank costs $4000 and costs $90 to pump. Up to four cabins can share a grinder. All on the loop will save when grinders are shared. Diamond Lake is unique in that you can more easily share grinders on Diamond. It was asked who is responsible for ditch draining. The ditch in question is not part of the county system—it is a private system and everyone on that system is responsible for cleaning, etc. As long as it is not in the right-of-way, a person can do as they desire out of their own pocketbook. One should check with the Watershed District for help with cleaning the ditch. It was asked why there isn’t a security light on the east landing. Harlan said they installed them at both accesses and they were immediately shot out. Also it was stated that people do not know how to park at the landings. Harlan said the county will look at marking where people are to park.
Harlan Meints asked it people would like to have a speaker next year on what you can and can’t do on the lake as far as cutting weeds, reeds, moving rocks, etc. People expressed a desire to have such a speaker.
Harlan asked people to stay after to volunteer to be on a policy committee to work with the county on the loop.
It was suggested that we hand out ballots as people check in at the next meeting so that signatures will not be required when voting.
Motion was made and seconded to adjourn. Motion passed.