This year's meeting was a big success. It was convened by our new and effective president, Judy Christensen, who kept the discussion moving at a brisk pace. Attendance was high at about 55. But the quality of the discussion was even higher. Board members were on hand to review ongoing projects. County Commissioner Harlan Madsen spoke about County Plans, such as the resurfacing of County #2 east of Diamond Lake, and the looming budgetary constraints the worst in his memory due to the condition of state and federal coffers. And lake scientist / consultant Steve McComas provided technical commentary on lake issues as well as discussing the shoreland inventory project.
Several issues dominated the proceedings. Kathy Flaata reviewed the curlyleaf cutting. This year the cutting got off to a late start, due to weather constraints. As a result, the weeds were heavy. The good news is that we seem to be making progress, whether due to cutting or otherconditions. The good news is also that we don't have eurasian watermilfoil, yet. But lakes all around us, including Norway, Green and Ripley do have it. McComas noted that the problem in Green Lake has stabilized, and that its introduction is not necessarily devastating, as it depends on particular lake conditions to propagate. But some of us worry that Diamond may present a more favorable environment for its spread.
Bill Schultz described efforts to roust out carp from the lake (described elsewhere in this News). McComas provided the theory: carp root out good vegetation, reintroduce settled nutrients back into the water column, and add their own "nutrient pumped" waster into the lake. Getting rid of the helps correct these problems. In response to one suggestion that sterilized "grass carp" could help rid the lake of their nubile cousins through mating, McComas demurred: grass carp eat all the vegetation, good and bad. They aren't 100% sterile, and besides it is illegal to introduce them to Minnesota waters.
Associated with actual carp removal is the upstream effort to improve water quality in the Hubbard-Schultz-Wheeler chain of lakes that represents a substantial portion of the nutrients flowing into Diamond. The Association hopes to work with the DNR to kill the carp in these feeder lakes this winter by means of oxygen dispersion. It was supposed to be done last winter but due to too much available oxygen, or perhaps the DNR's wanting time to experiment with the method, it did not happen. The second phase of the project will be to introduce non-toxic alum into the lakes. Alum absorbs phosphorous, making it unavailable to algae and precipitating it out to the lake bottom. However, the alum pellets are not cheap. The Association will look into the prospect.
Lakescaping is a new Association initiative. It involves the introduction of buffer strips at the lake's edge which serve to remove soil particles. The voluntary program, also known as "naturalization" is part of our grant budget plan. Volunteers will be taking photos of all lake properties in order to establish a baseline for shoreland comparisons in years to come. Those interested in the idea can look at Jennifer and Harlan Davenport's efforts with cattails on the north side of the lake. The Minnesota DNR has a CD, "Restore Your Shore" that will walk you through the effort, depending on your conditions and preferences (1-800-657-3706).
Other matters were also discussed. A new plan to work with watershed farmers was explained. One individual raised the well received prospect of a path around the lake. Another person asked about street (meaning "house") address signs, but it looks like the County won't have the funds to do the job: it may be possible to achieve this by means of an assessment, say $20 each house. As for a sewer around the lake, Madsen said it was up to the Association, as the substantial expense would be passed onto the property owner. The County Commissioners have decided to replace the building at County Park #3 (Diamond Lake) and hope to erect it with the help of community service personnel (i.e. county jail inmates).
Dave Solbrack asked McComas a questions that many have asked themselves: have we made any progress? McComas thought we had, especially with the curlyleaf. A number of projects have been completed or are underway. But mostly, in his opinion, things would be far worse had we done nothing.
Count Park #3 Closing Early This Season
Pending county approval, County Park #3 will be closing early this season. Due to rebuilding the store and house, manager Todd Anderson will be looking for a place to rent over a 6+ month period. If you have any leads or ideas please call him at 974-8520.
by Bill Schultz and Harley Quinn
As you have read elsewhere in the News, the Association is committed to reducing carp numbers. We've tried insults, recipes and now a professional fish slinger, Ken Seemann of Dassel. Seemann hauls carp for a living. If he has a market for them, for example a processor in Iowa, he delivers. If not, he looks for a place to burial spot. Since the market demand for carp isn't that great, he also gets paid to do the removal. Whatever he can get over and above that is, so to speak, gravy (carp gravy?).
This year's plan was to rout the carp out of the Hubbard-Schultz-Wheeler chain of lakes. By doing so, we hope to restore the kind of vegetation that can filter out nutrients before they reach Diamond Lake from the Hubbard Lake inlet. The purpose of the fish trap between the inlet and the lake is to trap and eliminate carp as they try to get into the shallower upstream lakes to spawn, or back into Diamond after they are done. According to Limnologist Steve McComas, carp spawn several times during the spring-summer season, so this is not a one time event.
The trap has been very effective. However, once the carp are trapped, they need to be removed before they die and start to decompose. Tom Deadrick and Bill Schultz were among the first to get to the trap this year and figure they removed some 2000 pounds of carp, some of them weighing better than 20 pounds. Seemann did not get out to the trap as early as hoped since he was busy carping in California. When he and his two assistants did get out here there was enough work to keep them busy twice a week for 3 weeks. He figures he removed 12,000 pounds of live carp and 500 pounds of dogfish at a cost to the Association of $1800. He was encourage by their relatively large size of 5 10 pounds, which means that the smaller younger ones are probably being eaten by predator fish, such as northerns. The war will continue this winter, weather and DNR permitting, when we attempt to suffocate the chain-of-lakes carp by disbursing their oxygen with Association purchased equipment.
In addition to removing the fish, the Association sunk some money into rebuilding a section of the trap last winter at a cost of $1600, and had the gates and throats rebuilt for an additional $150. We hope to replace a section of the trap on the lakeside later this season. All these expenses should be covered by our grant. But even if they are not, the Association feels it is a worthwhile expenditure in pursuit of better water quality.