Diamond Lake Area
Recreational Association
Atwater, Minnesota
Diamond Lake News
Twentieth Annual
January 2003
Special Edition

At our last meeting of the year in Sept., we received some exciting news: the Kandiyohi County Soil and Water Conservation District had agreed to work with us to sign up landowners who were willing to establish conservation management programs.  The program is described in the accompanying article.  Now is the best time for farmers to consider this program as they make their plans for the 2003 crop year.  We hope that readers will publicize this opportunity by mentioning it to any acquaintances who farm in the Diamond Lake watershed area.

Another matter that came up was a bit embarrassing: our list of 2002 Association dues payers inadvertently deleted a number of names between the letters H and L.  To remedy that omission we are republishing the entire list.  We apologize to those whose names did not appear the first time.
Diamond Lake Association's
Agricultural Best Management Practices Cost Sharing / Incentive Program

   In an effort to encourage landowners to establish agricultural best management practices DLA has established the "Agricultural Best Management Practices Cost Sharing and Incentive Program".  We are working with the Kandiyohi Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) and Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) to manage this program.  The Agricultural BMP's include, but are not limited to:
* Filter strips                      * Wetland restorations                   * Grasses & Legumes
* Riparian tree plantings     * Sediment blocks.

   To offset the landowners' cost of establishing the Agricultural BMP, DLA is paying the difference in the cost share portion paid by the Federal government for establishing the practice; thus there is no out-of-pocket expense incurred by the landowner.  In addition, a one-time incentive is paid to the landowners participating in this program by DLA. The incentive payment is based on acreage to be used for the practice as follows:
* Up to 1 acre $150           * 1 - 3 acres    $250           * 3+ acres       $350.

   DLA is funding this program via the DLA "Diamond Lake Phase 2 Continuation Action Plan" grant monies.  This program will be offered through April 2004 provided grant monies are available.  DLA reserves the right to discontinue this program at any time, though all contracts previously approved by DLA will be honored.

   To sign up for this program, landowners work through the Kandiyohi Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) or the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) by filling out a "State Cost-Share Assistance Contract".   DLA receives a copy of the contract for approval after the SWCD or NRCS has approved it.  We review the contract and send a letter to the landowner informing them of our acceptance of the contract.

   The landowner must then establish the practice as described in the contract and in accordance with the timeline. Kandiyohi SWCD or NCRS inspects the conservation practices to ensure compliance with the contract.  After that is successfully completed, we pay the landowner the amount owed by the DLA for the cost-sharing portion along with the incentive bonus.

   We started this program in September 2002.  It has been discussed on the weekly FSA radio show, as well as in their newsletter.  The Kandiyohi SWCD, NRCS and FSA are informed of the program, how it works and are encouraging landowners to participate in this opportunity. 

   For specifics on the program guidelines, the processes to sign-up, and a current recap of the number of landowners participating with acreage totals, check our Internet site at www.diamondlakeassociation.homestead.com.

   To date, eight landowners have signed up for this program, and 68.4 acres are scheduled to have a BMP established this spring!  We are very excited about the number of acres that will have a conservation BMP established.  Thanks to the landowners that have already signed up!   If you know of anyone who is interested in participating in this program, have them contact the Kandiyohi SWCD or NRCS at 320-235-3906 extension 3.

   Together, the landowners and DLA are making a difference to improve the water quality of Diamond Lake!
Shoreland Inventory

At its 2002 annual meeting the Board of Directors of the Diamond Lake Area Recreational Association commissioned a shoreland inventory of the lake.  The purpose of the inventory was to establish a baseline of shoreland conditions and then proceed with ways to improve the health of the shoreline.

The Board proceeded on the assumption that native landscaping, that is landscaping original to the area before development occurred, is ecologically superior to shoreline alterations.  Natural or native landscaping improves water quality by slowing stormwater runoff.  It also attracts a greater and more desirable variety of wildlife.  As an example, geese prefer lawns rather than tall grass.  Geese also leave behind a mess.

Photos of the entire Diamond Lake shoreline were taken on August 13-14, 2002 by Association members Ken Kruger and Harlan Davenport.  The results were published and compiled by limnologist Steve McComas (a copy is available at the Atwater State Bank; Judy Christensen also has one available).  The report concludes that Diamond Lake is actually less natural than many other studied lakes, even those in the Twin Cities Metropolitan area.  McComas describes several techniques for improving natural conditions.

Of course, going completely "native" is not practical.  Lakeshore residents prefer open spaces for recreation and lake access.  Resources have been invested in improvements.  However, it may be possible to dedicate some shoreland to a more natural condition, whether it be in the case of new development, repair, or just in the interest of change.  It may also be possible ot expose current residents to the benefits and beauty of the natural alternative.  To that end, the Association will be offering incentives to shoreland property owners who would like to try the native lakescaping.  We will publish the details in our spring issue of the "News".

Those who would like to learn more about natural lakescaping can do so by purchasing "Lakescaping for Wildlife and Water Quality" by Carol Henderson and others (Minnesota Dept. of Natural Resources (651-296-6157) at a cost of $21.  An interactive CD, "Restore Your Shore" is available from Minnesota's Bookstore at 800-657-3757 for approx. $30.  You can also boat past Jennifer and Harlan Davenport's home on the north bay of Diamond Lake and judge for yourself the success of their efforts at restoring cattails.

2002 Honor Roll

  From A to Z, 189 persons are paid up Association dues members for 2002.  We thank you very much for your support.  The number represents a little better than half the number of homes around the lake.  In order to respect people's privacy on the internet, we are not publishing the member names on our web site.  To view the paid members, please see a printed copy of our newsletter.
A Shocking Experience on Diamond Lake
by Max Schreck

   On the evening of September 22, 2002, the DNR in the person of Dave Coahran invited Board members Larry Redepenning and Bob Meyerson along for the DNR's periodic electro-shocking study.  The idea was to count yearling walleye in order to see how well the "Class of 2002" has done in surviving.  These fish are native offspring, not stocked fry, as the DNR declined to stock walleye in 2002.

   The DNR does several kinds of shock studies.  In the early spring, it counts other varieties, such as bass and northern.  The general purpose is to take a measure of the fish distribution.  This time the specific purpose was to find an area lake that needed stocking.

   Results were similar to those of recent years, with a count of 49.5.  Last year it was 51.4 and the year before 54.0.  But there is not a trend here, as 1000 had a count of 196 and  1998 only 3.  It is possible that yields were lower due to the higher water level this fall which required the DNR boat to stay in deeper water than in would have liked: docks prevented us from inspecting shallower waters.

   In speaking with the DNR recently I did have the opportunity to ask about our carp war.  We had purchased equipment a year ago to facilitate oxygen dispersion under the ice.  This has the effect of suffocating the carp in the shallow sloughs where the technique would be applied.  Unfortunately, weather conditions did not permit this last year as there was too little snow cover and too much oxygen to bother.  This year an attempt will be made on a smaller pond before attacking the Wheeler-Schultz chain of lakes.  Of course, all depends on the weather.