Diamond Lake Area
Recreational Association
Atwater, Minnesota
Diamond Lake News
Nineteenth Annual
May 2001
Grant Has Expired; Long Live The New Grant  

    Our $79,000 Clean Water Partnership Grant expired on April 10, 2001 after 3 years, plus 1 year's extension.  We will give a full accounting in a later issue of DLN once all the numbers are in.  For now, suffice it to say two things.  First, we made a purchase at the last moment and second, we got another grant.
   Before the grant expired there was some $20,000 (rough guess) of unspent funds.  Those monies were originally ear-marked for projects in the Wheeler-Schultz-Hubbard chain of lakes, the sloughs identified as the preponderate source of nutrients by the Phase 1 Diagnostic Feasibility Study.  The ideas was to draw down the water in those sloughs in order to kill the carp that spawn and winter there, rooting out the beneficial vegetation that filters some of the nutrients out of the water.  Once the carp were gone, the idea went, the native grasses would have an opportunity to reestablish themselves.
   Unfortunately, despite the best efforts of Roger Rasmussen and Kevin Gruenhagen, the project did not get off the ground  approvals were slow in coming and the cost was exceedingly steep, maybe $50,000.  We finally just ran out of winter, as long as it may have seemed to many.  The good news, however, is that the water level in the sloughs was very low, the winter very cold, the snow cover very high and the dissolved oxygen barely above zero.  Nature may have accomplished what man could not.
Furthermore, DNR Spicer came up with another idea.  They suggested that the association purchase some special equipment we could use next year to control the carp and pay for it with some of the unused grant funds.  The equipment consists of (1) a bubble aerator which would disperse any pockets of oxygen existing under the ice, thus suffocating any surviving carp, (2) a beavertail outboard motor with a long shaft that could be run in shallow water such as a slough, and (3) a generator (as electrical outlets tend to be scarce on lakes and sloughs).  The total cost is about $6,000, a fraction what the drawdown would have cost.  Furthermore, the drawdown idea would have meant pumping nutrient rich water into Diamond Lake.  This method avoids dumping the water into Diamond, and allows us to do the kill more than one year at no additional cost.  Besides, there was no assurance that the drawdown would work; what if the favorable vegetation didn't reassert itself before the carp found their way back into the sloughs?
   The DNR will store and maintain the equipment for us.  It will be available for other uses on other lakes, thereby getting more use than if only earmarked for Diamond Lake.  We can consider ourselves benefactors of other lakes besides our own.
   As for the new grant, we applied for a continuation and received a $25,000 matching grant to run 3 years to April 11, 2004.  We are now in the process of drawing up plans for expending the funds.  Do you have any good ideas?


  Remember, if you fertilize, look for bags without phosphorous.  It contributes to algae blooms when it winds up in the lake.  Phosphorous is the middle number on the fertilizer bag formula, and should show zero, as in xx-0-xx.  Our 2000 study of lake property soil samples showed that of 62 samples only 4 were low in phosphorous!  If you don't know where you stand, contact Eco-Agri of Willmar (235-3927)  for $12.25 you can get the job done.

   Bob Meyerson has a wealth of materials I his office (next to the Atwater State Bank) relating to lake matters and welcomes your inquiries.  Materials include: lake studies, the underwater video, past issues of Diamond Lake News, information about invasive exotic plants and species and more.  He's usually in his office on Fridays.

   Annual Meeting: 9am Saturday, August 18, 2001 at the Community Park Shelter.

   We need newsletter articles and/or other ideas for our next issue.  Please submit to the Editor, DLKN, Box 755, Atwater, MN 56209.

Induced Winterkill of Lakes and Ponds
by Bruce Gilbertson, Area Fisheries Supervisor,
Minnesota Department of Natural Resources

  Winterkill of fish in shallow lakes and ponds in our area has naturally occurred for thousands of years.  Recent human efforts have concentrated on preventing the kill of fish through the use of aeration systems.  Some area lakes where this has been successfully done are Willmar, Foot, Long, Ringo and Wagonga Lakes.  Partial winterkills tend to kill gamefish first, leaving shallow lakes with fish populations dominated by undesirable fish such as carp and bullheads.  They can adversely affect water quality by grazing desirable rooted aquatic plants and stirring up sediments.
There has been interest on part of the Diamond Lake Association to create a winterkill of fish in the Schultz, Wheeler, Hubbard lake chain with the goal of removing the carp.  A concept described in the Diamond Lake Diagnostic Feasibility Study called for drawdown of the three lakes in late fall or winter to increase the likelihood of winterkill.  By operating the fish trap to block reentry of carp through the inlet to Diamond Lake from this lake chain, it was believed that improved water quality would be achieved for Schultz, Wheeler, Hubbard and for Diamond Lake which receives water from them.  Even with drawdown, winterkill is not guaranteed.  Such a project was proposed in fall/winter 2000-2001 at a cost of $50,000, but some land owners were concerned about potential problems resulting from the proposed water pumping.  The permit and project proposal was dropped.  Oxygen monitoring of the three lakes indicated that at least partial winterkill of fish occurred this winter.
Spicer Fish Management Area experimented with inducing winterkill of walleye rearing ponds through use of two methods to mix water under the ice, increase biological oxygen demand (B.O.D.), and artificially create winterkill of undesirable fish, thus improving the ponds for fish rearing.  Unlike aeration systems used to save fish, we waited until oxygen levels became low then used the aerators to mix water, lowering it even more to kill the fish.  The systems were operated only for one day.
We used two Beavertail outboard motors in four shallow ponds (less than 5 feet of depth under the ice).  We used compressor/diffusers run off a generator, similar to bubbler aeration systems to destratify (or mix the water column) in two ponds with about 10 feet or more of depth.
Dissolved oxygen monitoring indicated that we should have been successful, but we really need to verify that it worked by spring ice out netting.
Some Diamond Lake members have expressed interest in using the induced winterkill technique for Schultz, Wheeler and Hubbard lakes.  They have suggested that the association purchase some of the equipment for doing it using Clean Water Partner grant money.  It has also been suggested that DNR keep and maintain the equipment, use it for our needs, and make it available for use by the Diamond Lake Association when desired.  The cost of the equipment would be about $5,500 to ^4,000.
The technique is still somewhat experimental.  However, I feel that the cost is very low compared to drawdown or chemical reclamations ($50,000 to over $200,000).  An alternate idea is to wait, since DNR Fisheries plans to purchase similar equipment in the future if the technique works well.

The Lake Association Doesn't Do A Darn Thing!

   I've heard this charge several times over the years.  Sometimes it comes from disgruntled cabin owners, perhaps as an excuse for not paying their dues.  Sometimes it come from watershed farmers who feel they are singled out for blame while homeowners around the lake degrade water quality through negligent practices.  Sometimes, I even think it myself when I see the same old problems emerge year after year.  Occasionally I have to remind myself, and others, that the Diamond Lake Area Recreational Association does do a darn thing.  Here'' a run-down.

*    For the past 3 years the Association has sponsored a curly leaf weed harvest on the north side of the lake.  This is a major undertaking, involving a number of volunteers, boats, permits and follow up studies.  Since the project began, coincidentally or not, the nuisance of rotting shore weeds has diminished.

*    For several years Association members have been pulling carp out of the trap.  Carp contribute to water quality degradation by rooting up sediment and reintroducing nutrients into the water column.  They also destroy and compete with game fish for habitat.

*    We paid for and distributed, free of charge, an "Awareness Project" file, reviewing preferred ways of fertilizing and caring for lawns.  (A few extras are still available from Bob Meyerson at the Atwater Sate Bank).

*    Last year we paid for about 70 soil sample tests for property owners around the lake and sent them the results, demonstrating in almost every case the absence of any need for phosphorous.

*    We've promoted the use of phosphorous free fertilizer, septic system pumping, tree planing, and environmentally friendly watercraft usage on the lake.

*    We had Dogfish Bay reclassified to a no-wake zone to protect the spawning area, and have been lobbying against the development of the east side of the Bay for the same reason.

*    We've worked with the DNR to monitor fish populations and encourage restocking where advisable, including dredging out (at our expense) the northern spawning area off the west side of the lake.

*    We've attempted to promote awareness of lake issues, raise the general level of understanding about lake conditions and find ways of working with watershed land owners to promote Best Management Practices.

*    We send the Diamond Lake News free of charge 3 times a year to some 500 watershed residents.

There are probably several initiatives I've missed, but you get the point.  I'm not arguing that the Association directors are working hard to improve conditions; hard work without results is a sentimental substitute for effectiveness.  It may be argued that all these efforts have done little to change fundamental problems  it is sometimes hard to make a determination due to changing weather conditions from year to year.  But it cannot be argued that we aren't doing a darn thing.  Don't remain on the sidelines and, pardon the expression, carp at what we are doing.  We are not a unit of government with powers of proposal or enforcement, but we can affect government by working together.  We invite all interested watershed residents to join with us, as Board members (we can use a few new ones), project initiators and helpers, or just as dues paying members.

The Diamond Lake Web Site is Here!

   Do you have access to the internet? If you do, we have some exciting news for you. We are pleased to announce we have a web site for our association! The web site is www.diamondlakeassociation.homestead.com.
   Our web site contains information about Diamond Lake, the area and our association. You will find information from the DNR on Diamond Lake such as water clarity and quality, lake levels, fish consumption and more. We are linked to the DNR's web site, so the information is current. Maps of Diamond Lake are shown as well as links to the local weather forecast. Our association information includes past and current newsletters plus a list of the Board of Directors.
   In addition, you have the ability to e-mail us. To begin, we would like to use this "e-mail me" button to get your e-mail address. This will enable us to notify you of information related to the association in the future, such as 'a reminder of the annual picnic' or a call for assistance from our members for a special project, such as 'assistance is needed for weed cutting during a particular period of time'. If you would like to receive information from the association, or if you simply have comments or suggestions for the web site, please send your e-mail address to us via the "e-mail me" button. If you should have any trouble with this button, you can send your information to DIAMONDLAKEASSOC@mn.rr.com OR JCHRISTENSEN77@mn.rr.com .
   So, while surfing the net, make sure to check out our new web site. We will continue to add more information based on the suggestions or comments from our members, so feel free to visit it often!
Annual Dues

One of the most hateful jobs of Association directors used to be collecting dues.  It meant taking a day out of valuable summer-at-the-lake time and also taking occasional guff, as some poorly informed property owners were of the opinion that the directors were responsible for whatever problems existed.  The Association is only a voluntary organization.  It has no jurisdiction and relies upon member contributions for its funds.  It publishes this "news" as well as promotes various projects to improve life on and around the lake.  That is why we come to you annually with the request for dues.  Please do your part by sending us your $25 dues to:
Jon Hanson, Treasurer
Diamond Lake Area Rec Assn
15375 NE 75th Ave
Atwater, MN 56209.

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