Diamond Lake Area
Recreational Association
Atwater, Minnesota
Diamond Lake News
Twenty-second Year
Memorial Day Edition 2005
Tornado Alert
by Pete Hoagland, Pete's Communciations, Inc. Willmar (235-0630)

(Editor’s Note: Last year it was suggested that the Association look into the matter of installing a tornado warning system for lake residents.  The idea was dropped as being too expensive, too noisy, ineffective, and inferior to other solutions.  The following thoughtful essay should provide good information to those concerned about the problem).

As part of our business we sell, install and service warning sirens.  In my view spending our Association money on 2 sirens would not be prudent.  Coverage around a like is difficult when compared to covering a city whose population is typically concentrated and can be reached with a, or multiple circular patterns.

In the case of Diamond Lake, multiple smaller sirens would be more effective than 4 or 5 “high-power” sirens – 2 sirens would only benefit about 20% of the shoreline.  A “high power” approach would probably require non-rotating sirens, each aimed in a specific direction, creating multiple “football-shaped” coverage areas which essentially follow the shoreline.  (The usual approach allows the siren to rotate, thus creating a more or less circular coverage area.  In the case of the lake, roughly half the sound will be away from the lake and half out on the lake).  Coverage over the water surface has potential benefits to those fishing or skiing but is quite intangible or unpredictable in terms of the numbers of people being served.  In any event we all need to remember that warning sirens are intended as an outdoor warning system.  When people are indoors reliance is typically by means of radio or TV.

Instead of sirens people around the lake might be better served by weather monitor receivers, particularly those which have a SAME (Specific Area Message Encoder) decoder incorporated into them.  SAME messages carry a county-specific address (in our case Kandiyohi County) which the National Weather Service would send for weather events affecting our county.  These weather receivers with the SAME decoder are relatively inexpensive ($70? At Radio Shack or other stores).

A more lake-specific approach would be a monitor receiver which “listens” to the Kandiyohi County Fire Dispatch channel and decodes the signal being sent to activate the present siren at County Park #3 on the west side of Diamond.  Unfortunately, this type of receive is considerably more expensive that the SAME weather receiver.  If the Association wishes to pursue sirens, it should contact Don Ericson, Kandiyohi County Emergency Management Director (235-5133) and arrange to have the Lake’s sirens fit into the County plan.  If sirens or the County Fire Channel receiver are selected, I would appreciate the opportunity to provide a quote for the system.

Mild Winter Foils Hopes of Reverse Aeration in Shallow Lake Chain
by Kelly LaFortune, Shallow Lake Specialist - MN DNR - Section of Wildlife

In February of this year, the DNR posted a notice in the Willmar Tribune informing residents of a possible reverse aeration treatment of Hubbard, Schultz and Wheeler Lakes – a chain of shallow water bodies that empties into Diamond Lake.  This notice was one of two postings, required by law, before any such treatment can take place.  The goal was to use aeration equipment to induce a winterkill of rough fish in the shallow basins, with hopes of improved water quality the following year.

Lake aeration is a fisheries management technique used to percent winterkill from low oxygen conditions.  Reverse aeration, however, is a little different.  Researchers have found the same equipment used to keep fish alive over the winter, can actually promote a winterkill under certain conditions.

One such condition requires the basins to be “anoxic” (without oxygen) on or near the bottom of the lakes.  The purpose is to mix this anoxic layer with the water near the ice, which typically holds more oxygen.  This mixing causes the oxygenated layer to rapidly lose oxygen, and fish cannot adjust to the sudden change.

Unfortunately, over the past winter, oxygen levels in all three lakes remained high due to the unusually mild weather conditions of the season.  In fact, the connection between Hubbard Lake and Diamond was still open and running in February, allowing oxygen to move freely into the system.  However, all is not lost.  With any cooperation from Mother Nature, the DNR is planning to try the procedure again next year.  If a fish kill is successful, the Department would like to pursue a more effective and permanent fish barrier between Diamond Lake and the shallow chain.  Keeping rough fish out of the shallow basins could greatly improve the water quality entering Diamond from the adjacent chain. 

For more information please contact Area Fisheries Supervisor Bruce Gilbertson at (320) 796-2161.

2004 Roll of Honor

The list of 2004 paid Association members can be found by clicking on the MEMBERSHIP link on the menu (see left side of this page).  Thanks to all who contributed their dues to help support our efforts! 

By Action of the Board
by Judy Christensen

1)  Board of Director Changes
The Board of Directors is undergoing a few new changes.  First, Bob Meyerson has stepped down as Vice President, though we are fortunate that he will remain as a Director.  Bob has been VP for many years and has served our Association very well.  I personally want to thank him, as he helped me when I transitioned in as the President to keep things moving forward.  Secondly, Chris Black has joined the Board as our new Vice President.  A big welcome to Chris!  Kathy Flaata has resigned her position as a Director as she and her husband have sold their home and are moving to Hutchinson.  A big thank you to Kathy for all of her efforts while serving the Board.  Kathy was definitely a lightning bolt in getting things moving forward, and we will surely miss her.

2)  Septic Pumping
The Board has approved a program to assist Association members who get their septic tanks pumped this year.  The idea of this program is to educate residents on how to take care of their septic systems.  The Association will be delivering a flyer to all residences on the Lake sometime in June (courtesy of Harlan Meintz and his grandchildren!).  This flyer will contain a booklet explaining proper septic system care, and a list of the approved septic tank pumpers that you can use if you want to participate in this program.  If you choose to get your septic system (or holding tank) pumped, the Association will reimburse you $50, the approximate cost of having a septic system pumped is $80 - $100.  This offer is only good to Association members and you can only be reimbursed once this year (so if you have a holding tank and have it pumped more frequently - this is good for one time).  If you are not a member – you can join for a mere $25 and then participate in this program.

3)  Directory
A brand new Diamond Lake Directory will be included in this flyer (this is based on Kandiyohi County property tax information as of 12/31/04).  The specific details of the program will be coming soon to your doorstep – so keep your eyes glued for more information!

4)  Aerator
A lawn aerator is available to Association members for free.  The aerator is stored at County Park #3 in the Association’s shed. Todd Anderson, manager of County Park #3, has a key to the shed.  Interested members can contact Todd for access.  Lawn aerations is an alternative to fertilization (though we are willing to accept an authorization essay on the matter for the next issue of this News).

Carp Wars, Part IV?
By Bruce Gilbertson, Spicer Area Fisheries, Minnesota DNR

(editor’s note: some Association members are concerned about the annual convention lake carp hold every spring at the Diamond Lake inlet – activities include roiling the waters, lunging for flies and growing fat; they (the Association members, that is) fell this represents an opportunity to reduce the carp population by harvesting, thus eliminating a potential odor problem as well when the carp die in place; others feel that this would be an expensive proposition that also adversely impacts game fish attracted by the same upstream physics in order to spawn; we asked the DNR to weigh in – rebuttals are welcome)

Since arriving in Minnesota over 100 years ago, carp have dispersed to many lakes and wetlands.  Carp harm water quality by grazing aquatic vegetation and stirring sediments in shallow basins, releasing nutrients which stimulate algae blooms.  Carp are very prolific, and removal of adult fish often stimulates reproduction.  The “void” created by removal of adult carp will likely be filled by larger numbers of small carp within a relatively short time.  Young carp are more energetic, exhibit higher food consumption, survival and growth rates than the larger, older and less abundant adults.

For this reason, removal efforts can actually increase problems associated with the presence of carp in the lake.  Cooper (1987) reported that in a Utah lake, a 95% removal of the carp population was obtained by Rotenone and operation of a fish screen.  Control was only achieved for two years.  Minnesota has seen similar results.  In 2002 – 2003, 1/26 million pounds of carp were removed from Minnesota lakes by commercial fishing (MN DNR Fisheries records), yet carp still persist.  Current thought is that changing environmental conditions through watershed efforts is the best way to protect water quality and control undesirable fish such as carp.  Lake Elmo, Washington County, MN, saw an increase in water clarity, even with the presence of carp, after a significant source of nutrient was diverted (MN DNR website).

That being said, carp control efforts have been implemented for Diamond Lake.  A fish barrier on the Tait northern pike spawning area (NW corner of Diamond Lake) prevents most carp from accessing and spawning in the wetland.  The DNR stocks adult northern pike so they can spawn there.  The fish trap at the inlet from Hubbard Lake is intended to reduce spawning of carp in the three wetlands.  We have hoped that winterkill of carp would occur in the wetlands.  It hasn’t happened for several years.  Removal of carp captured in the trap reduces odor and other problems for nearby land owners.

A reassessment of the carp trap operation may be needed.  Northern pike are placed over the trap to allow them to go upstream to spawn, although one Association member stated that several northern pike get caught in the slots of the trap and die.  Some carp stay above the trap, and do not die from winterkill.  They can reproduce in the Hubbard chain.  We may want to try to modify the trap to reduce killing northern pike, leave the trap open until northern pike are down spawning, replace part of the trap with a better fish barrier, or even not operate it al all.  I recommend that the Diamond Lake Association, DNR Fisheries and Wildlife meet to discuss directions for the future of the trap site.

Watershed District Proposal Approved

On a 3-2 vote (Madsen and Shuck in opposition) the Kandiyohi County Commissioners approved a proposal to establish a watershed district encompassing some 275 square miles in Kandiyohi, Stearns and Meeker Counties.  Shortly thereafter BWSR (Board of Water and Soil Resources, commonly known as “Bowser”) also approved the new district on a 13-1 vote.  The district includes Diamond Lake.

The Diamond Lake Area Recreational Association had opposed the idea for several reasons; residents weren’t given an opportunity to vote, the initiative came from resident Ann Latham of Green Lake in order to solve Green Lake problems, Diamond Lake was included as an after-thought by BWSR, we feared the district could jeopardize our successful grant writing efforts and we were skeptical that the additional taxation (no more than $24 per $100,000 of real estate tax valuation) would benefit us.  Both the Association and individual members wrote letters to the County Commissioners and BWSR opposing the idea.  Harrison Township and the City of Atwater were also opposed.

The good news, from the Association’s pint of view, is that one of our members, Gordon Behm, was selected as an organizing manager.  His candidacy was supported by the Association.  According to Behm, the District is now looking for volunteers to serve on an advisory group.  This could be a very influential position as that group will be instrumental in determining the future course of the District.  It will take some 12-18 months before an actual plan is developed.  Please contact Gordon Behm if you are interested in serving.