Diamond Lake Area
Recreational Association
Atwater, Minnesota
Diamond Lake News
Twenty-second Year
July 4th Edition 2005
Sewer System Proposed Around Diamond Lake
by Bob Carruthers

A draft feasibility study has been completed for Diamond Lake by Bolton & Menk, Inc., consulting engineers for Kandiyohi County.  The study examines existing wastewater problems, proposes alternatives for the future collection of wastewater, estimates costs and assessments and establishes a project schedule.

The study recommends a low pressure wastewater collection system.  Underground boring is being proposed to minimize the environmental impact, allow lines to be installed in confined digging areas and eliminate ground restoration.  Bolton & Menk also recommend a split loop system that divides Diamond Lake at approximately 49th Ave.  One force main would pump wastewater in a clockwise direction while the other would start 200 feet west of 165th St NE and pump in a counter clockwise direction along the SE, E and N shores of the lake.  Individual pressure systems would be installed with grinder pumps.  In addition to the sanitary sewer a wastewater metering system would be installed at each home.  The effluent from the system would be connected to the Green Lake wastewater treatment plant.

The Kandiyohi County Board recognized the value of having Diamond Lake added to the wastewater collection system and has indicated its willingness to contribute partial funding for the trunk sewer lines.  Assessments are being proposed for 365 homes and building lots that would be able to connect to the system.  If approved the project is scheduled to begin in the spring of 2006.  Estimated project cost per unit is $15,000.

Following the annual meeting of the Diamond Lake Area Recreational Association beginning at 8:30am, an informational meeting will be held on Saturday, August 6, 2005 at 9am at the Atwater Community Center.  Brad DeWolff of Bolton & Menk, Gary Danielson, Kandiyohi County Engineer and Harlan Madsen, Kandiyohi County Commissioner, will be on hand for short presentations to be followed by a question and answer session.

A Burning Question
by Mallard Fuelmore

On May 23, 2005 a great plume of smoke arose on the south side of Diamond Lake.  It could be seen all the way to Atwater and raised some concern.  As it turns out, the smoke was the result of a deliberate burn orchestrated not by the DNR but by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, based in Litchfield.

According to Project Leader Scott Glupp, the burn was long overdue.  They would like to burn their Wildlife Production Areas every 5-6 years, but the last time they did this 240 acre parcel was in 1997.  U.S. Fish & Wildlife is charged with protecting and managing its acres for the benefit migratory waterfowl and other birds, deer and pheasants do not fall within their mission.

The purpose of the burn (paid for by duck stamp sales) is twofold.  First, a burn removes the mat of old vegetation which chokes out plant life and harms nesting.  Second, it helps control the spread of trees.  Before settlers moved into the area, these developments were controlled by prairie fires and bison who grazed the prairie.  In their absence, U.S. Fish has stepped in.

Surprisingly, trees are not welcome for waterfowl habitat because they provide habitat for predators such as red tail hawks, great horned owls and raccoons.  They also serve as perch for nasty cowbirds, blackbirds who lay their eggs in the nests of other birds and whose offspring out-compete the other nestlings.

This year’s burn took place a little later than usual due to wet conditions.  Also, the wind had to be in the right direction, away from a concentration of homes.  U.S. Fish may try a late summer burn on other acres as it may be more effective in killing trees.  Glupp did concede that a burn eliminates some nests, but he argues that the positives outweigh the negatives: prairie birds are good re-nesters, as are ducks; there were CRP acres next to the burn to where the wildlife could retreat; the control of trees and matting would be beneficial in the long run.

According to Glupp, fire is the only tool they have to achieve their goals.  In his native South Dakota, lands are leased for cattle grazing or haying, but in Minnesota there isn’t enough livestock, the land may be rougher, and fencing would be required.  For those interested in the question, materials are available from U.S. Fish & Wildlife at 320-693-2849.

Playing the Slots
by Wilson Phalarope

At their last meeting, Association Board members discussed the possibility of establishing slot limits for fishing on Diamond Lake.  The purpose of such limits is to protect egg bearing adults of the species, thereby increasing the fish population.  But this is where the fun begins.

Should there be an absolute prohibition on walleyes over a certain size, say 26”?  Or only between 20 – 26”?  What is the restriction at the other end, 17”?  Should other fish be included, such as northern pike?  Since northerns are narrower than walleyes, should their slot limit be higher?  Should bag limits be lower than the state allows?  Should they be different for different slots?  Should there be any limits at all, considering the fact that catch and release often results in dead fish?  Or that deeply hooked fish are doomed whatever the catch?  Will limits be confusing?  Do we have a problem with the removal of prime spawning fish?  Have slot limits been effective on other lakes?  Will rulers have to become a standard item in the tackle box?

People are encouraged to weigh in by contacting Board members, commenting on the web site, or writing to this editor.  Whatever the case, the process gets rather involved.  The process takes some two years to implement.  Public meetings have to be held, signs posted, and the Board must reach a decision.  If time allows, the issue will be raised at the August 6th Annual Meeting.  What are your wishes?

Septic Sceptics, Listen to This!
by Abner Malady

The Association is committed to promoting good septic system practices around Diamond Lake.  You may already have received a hand-delivered package of information, spoon fed with an envelope addressed (and self-stamping – we can’t break Jon of the habit of licking those self-adhering stamps, thus rendering them useless, so you will have to supply your own stamp).  So, listen to the rules, shake hands and come out fighting:
You must be an Association member with a septic system within the watershed to qualify.
Have your septic tank pumped by one of the licensed contractors listed in the flyer.  Please note...the list contains licensed pumpers in Kandiyohi County, this program has been amended to allow you to use licensed septic pumpers other than the ones listed in the flyer -  i.e. Meeker, etc.
It is your responsibility to pay the contractor in full at time of service.
Be sure to get a receipt from the contractor.
Send a copy of the receipt, along with a self-stamped, self-addressed envelope, to Jon Hanson.  Within approximately 30 days you will receive a check for $50, provided you have joined the Association (for $25).
Offer is good one time only; offer expires October 31, 2005; requests must be received by November 30, 2005.

Why are we making this crazy offer and losing a possible $25 on each membership?  Because the Association is serious about attacking the problem of nutrient loading (strange to think of septic effluvium as nutritious, but it does stimulate noxious weed growth and is a potential source of disease borne bacteria).  We also want to encourage the habit of septic maintenance as cabin owners not used to rural home ownership may be unfamiliar with this responsibility.  The Association also wants to set a good example.  We thank you in advance for your participation.

Weed My Lips
by Red Fescue

For several years Association members living on the north side of Diamond Lake have been cutting the curly leaf pondweed in the spring.  This project was undertaken on the recommendation of limnologist Steve McComas after he completed his Diagnostic Feasibility Study in 1996.  The idea is to control this nuisance weed before it reached turion (seed) production stage.

IN the early years McComas would dive into the water to determine the optimum cutting time.  The results are probably very favorable.  On the one hand, curly leaf proliferation is down, no where near the problem it used to be.  On the other hand, McComas’ follow-up study was unable to cite the cutting as the cause of the weed suppression as there was also a reduction in snail population, suggesting something else at work on the lake bottom.  Whatever the case, Association members feel the project is worthwhile.

By the way, the cutters were purchased by the Association, which also paid for the permit from the DNR – you can’t just go out and cut weeks without one!  The following is Joan Schultz’s report of this year’s effort, with a little help(?) from her friend.

The Diamond Lake Area Recreational Association was granted a permit in 2005 to cut the curly leaf pondweed in the northeast bay.  Due to the not so wonderful spring weather the crews did not get out until June 4th and 11th.  Due to changes in State philosophy, the fee (tax?) for the permit jumped from $200 to $750 last year and this!  A combination of depth finders and eyeballs determined when the weeds were ripe for cutting.  It appears that the worst stand has moved from the north to the northeast side.

A speech thanks to all who supplied the pontoons and muscle power to get the job done: Judy Christensen & crew: Tim DeRudder, Gordon Wittman, Joan Schultz; Bob Spence & sons; Mike McMonigal & crew: Jim & Joanne Teschendorf; Paul Benson & Jim Clark; Dave Denison & crew: Tim DeRudder, Jim Teschendorf & Joan Schultz.

Funny Fish Found in Frequented Freshwater
by Wally Pike

Somebody’s neighbor caught a funny fish in Diamond Lake on the weekend of the opener.  No, the walleye didn’t tell the one about the price of a Norwegian haircut, but it did have some unsightly bumps on its torso.  It looked as if its flesh was popping out of its skin.  According to Dave Coahran (yes, pronounced Koran), DNR Fisheries, this is a case of lymphocytes, a viral infection common to walleyes and certain other species.  It is more typical of fish caught during the winter months, but due to the cold spring this year, the condition may have lasted longer than usual (another source claims it is more common in the summer months).  It does not affect the meat, but the DNR has no recipes for preparing the cysts.

Do not, however, confuse lymphocytes with pfiesteria, which produces neurotoxins and may be harmful to humans.  Pfiesteria is characterized by open, bleeding sores often covering more that 20% of the fish.  This problem seems more prevalent in eastern ocean waters.  Don’t confuse it either with dermal sarcoma, more frequently found on the fish’s body rather that its fins.  Its lesions tend to be variable in color, with firm nodules developing to about half an inch in size.  I’m not sure what happens if you eat those.

A Word About Subscriptions to the News
by Jack Dupp, Editor

This newsletter is published about 3 times a year, approximately on the 3 major summer holidays: Memorial Day, July 4th and Labor Day.  It is distributed free to most residents of the Diamond Lake watershed and is a join project of the Association and the Atwater State Bank (meaning they both pay for it).

The weasel words, “about” and “most” mean that we sometimes deviate from established practice.  The biggest problem is updating the mailing list.  Lives change, people move and some switch addresses from wherever to Diamond Lake and back again.  We do our best to keep up but must rely on readers and neighbors for corrections.  If you move away or sell your place, please let us know.  And, but all means, if you aren’t reading this notice please tell us.

Our policy on content is fairly simple: we publish news of interest to watershed residents, news that generally cannot be found anywhere else.  We strive for accuracy of fact and grammar (a pet peeve).  We welcome letters and alternative views, though it is very rare that we receive any.  While such submissions need not be grammatical, they must be accurate.

Regarding advertising, we regard The News as an opportunity for local businesses to get a little publicity – we do not charge but we do ask that inserts be printed at the inserter’s expense, who is also asked to help with assembling the issue (about 8 total person hours for the last issue, not to mention the time it takes to write or edit the articles).  And when it stops being fun, it stops being.

The Association Web Site
by Spider Sabich

There is one unimpeachable (well, nobody has tried to impeach it yet) source for all things Diamond Lake, and that is our web site, so important that it deserves a whole line of its own   www.diamondlakeassociation.homestead.com.

The site is quite easy to use, with a self-explanatory menu on the left side of the home page, featuring such items as board minutes, programs, maps and services.  It has an up to date list of the “membership” (just in case you want to check up on your neighbors), a “newsflash” (featuring breaking stories, such as “Randy Gopher Ejected From Gentleman’s Club”), and copies of all News issues going back to 2000 (minus the award-winning Atwater State Bank ads).  The website is looking for photos on matters of interest to the readership.

You Say...

You say you have nothing to do, you’re tired of fishing, boating, gardening, partying?  Then try golfing at Island Pine, just southwest of Atwater (third street, 2 blocks south of the tracks, turn west on Montana to the end of the curing road).

The Course has undergone several improvements: tar cart paths were installed near the club house, more trees were planted, Bogey’s restaurant opens at 3pm and a new cart shed is available, 20 stalls with individual doors.  Granite tee-box markers are also being installed.

While rain delayed cutting the rough during our psring monsoon, the greens are fantastic.  The driving range is open @ $2.00/bucket – pick them up at the club house, not the range.  The very personable golf pro, Phil Andresen, is available for private lessons.  A special rate of $24 for 18 holes with cart applies on M-Th if you arrive before 11:00 (otherwise it costs $31 for the package).

Missile Lane

The Annual Meeting of the Diamond Lake Association will be held on Saturday, August 6, 2005 at 8:30am at the Atwater Community Center.  Preliminary plans are to follow that meeting at 9am with a sewer project information meeting.  There will be lots of time for questions.  See the detailed article elsewhere in the News.

Although our grant expired, the Association Board is still committed to supporting Agricultural Best Management Practices (BMP’s) on a cost sharing basis.  Typical BMP’s include filter strips, wetland restoration, riparian tree planting and much else.  Interested land owners should check out the details on the web site under the “Programs” tab on the left side of the screen.

LSS Sunnyview Assisted Living and Atwater Area Living at Home Block Nurse Program are having their Charity Golf Tournament at Island Pine Golf Club in Atwater on Monday July 18, 2005.  Registration begins at noon, with a 4 person scramble shotgun start beginning at 1pm.  Registration is $50 per player and includes eighteen holes of golf (cart provided), lots of prizes and fun, followed by a picnic dinner.  First place team wins $200!  Hole in One - $1000!  Call Island Pines at 974-8600 to register.  All proceeds go to LSS Sunnyview and Living at Home Block Nurse Program.  Supplementary funds are provided by Thrivent Financial for Lutherans Chapter #31307.

A group of Atwater area citizens are busy tryig to put together a local newspaper.  Hopes are for a fall debut.  If non-profit status is acquired, the paper will be delivered free to all 56209 box holders.  Tax deductible contributions will then be solicited.  Advertising too.

Next regular Board of Directors meeting will be held on Saturday July 16 at 8:30 am at the County Park #3 shelter on the west end of Diamond Lake.