Diamond Lake Area
Recreational Association
Atwater, Minnesota
Diamond Lake News
Twenty-eigth Year
Early Fall Edition 2011
TDML Study Challenged and Defended
by Bob Meyerson

A meeting was held in Willmar on September 6th in response to questions raised by farm commodity groups regarding the TMDL study process and conclusions.  TMDL, you may recall, stands for Total Daily Maximum Load.  The study was completed under the auspices of the Middle Fork Crow River Watershed District (MFCRWD), of which Diamond Lake is a part.

The Corn Growers and Bean Growers raised 2 objections.  First, they felt they were not properly notified to participate in the study as required by regulation.  Chad Anderson, head of the MFCRWD, disputed this claim, explaining that notification was published in the local newspaper and that local farmers were personally contacted.  In any event, MPCA, not MFCRWD, was responsible for notification.  Steve Commerford, research coordinator of the Minnesota Soybean Council argued that MPCA did not know who the right people are and that the lead members of the local commodity groups were not notified and therefore did not participate.

The commodity groups were also concerned about the method of allocating nutrient loading in the lake.  There are many sources of this loading, phosphorous in particular.  It might originate from the atmosphere, weather events, erosion, load existing in the lake, contribution from the Schultz-Wheeler-Hubbard Chain of Lakes, homeowner lawns and agricultural runoff.  The big question is, What is the relative contribution of each source, and how will the problem be remediated?  For Commerford the allocation must be correct because, once approved, the study becomes a legal document.

Mark Deutschmann, PHD and author of the study, defended the allocation (the study should be available by the end of September at the MFCRWD website, www.mfcrow.org).  His model is based on both historic and extrapolated data.  The discussion did not go too deeply into the model assumptions, but Commerford conceded that this study did a better job than other such studies at identifying all sources, while Deutschmann agreed that phosphorous existed in the lake prior to European settlement and that he was not recommending that farmers switch from cropland to grassland - Commerford claimed that grassland may actually contribute more to nutrient loading than responsible crop farming.

Chad Anderson detailed the following possible implementation strategies in the study: connecting to the Green Lake Wastewater Treatment Plant (in process), diverting the flow from the Chain of Lakes away from Diamond Lake, agricultural conservation practices, macrophyte management for curlyleaf pondweed, inactivation of the sediment though alum application and education for lakeshore property owners.

The commondity groups were concerned that the study could set a precedent and that recommended projects could become mandatory for them in coming years.  Anderson thought the odds of that happening were small.  From the perspective of the DLARA all plan proposals, every one, were made a decade and a half ago when a Clean Water Partnership Act Phase I and II Study was completed, with many of the recommendations subsequently implemented, including property owner education and agricultural Best Management Practices (BMPs) in cooperation with area farners.  By completing the TMDL study Diamond Lake may become eligible for assistance in remedying the problems identified.

Forest Tent Caterpillar Tips
taken from the Minnesota DNR website

Dealing with forest tent caterpillars (FTC) can be very frustrating.  During the first 3 weeks of June, they can be a downright nuisance.  They don't cause a health risk to humans, but the presence of hundreds or thousands of caterpillars can be a real headache.  Fortunately, the nuisance associated with FTC outbreaks can be reduced by individual homeowners.  The effect of FTC defoliation on shade trees, ornamental plantings, and gardens is also an important consideration for the homeowner.

Homeowners may want to adopt two basic strategies.  First, identify the trees or buildings that you want to protect.  Then work to protect the things you selected and ignore the rest (or at least try to).  It takes a lot of time and energy to try to protect everything on your property. Second, be persistent.  Some treatments may require daily monitoring or retreatment.

Caterpillars can be brushed off the house with a stiff broom or knocked down by a stream of water.  If possible, do this daily.  Avoid squashing caterpillars on the house.  You can also treat lawn furniture, patios, decks, screens, etc. with either of these two methods.  The longer caterpillars sit on painted surfaces, the more difficult it is to wash away any staining that may occur.

Spray a labeled insecticide on the concrete foundation of your house.  Some products containing malathion are labeled for home structural application.  Don't spray onto paint or stain as the insecticide may damage the finish.  Repeat applications as indicated on the product label.  Commercial pesticide applicators may be able to use more effective insecticides.

Dispose of dead caterpillars by burying them or mixing them into the compost pile.  Cocoons may be difficult to remove by water pressure.  They can be brushed off the house with a stiff broom.  Bag, burn, bury or compost the cocoons.  FTC moths are attracted to lights during early July.  Turning out your yard and exterior lights may reduce egg-laying on your trees and thus reduce next year's population.

The most important thing you can do to help defoliated trees and shrubs is to keep them well watered.  Supply 1 inch per week if you do not receive that much in rainfall from May 1 through September 1.  Do not fertilize trees or use a weed and feed product on your lawn during an outbreak.  Heavy nitrogen fertilization encourages the tree to produce more leaves which may deplete energy reserves and put additional stress on the tree.

The long term solution is to maintain tree vigor.  Outbreaks of GRC are cyclic with about 10 years between population peaks.  Maintain tree vigor by watering, fertilizing, properly pruning trees and by avoiding root and trunk damage.

If you have FTC that are too high in the trees for you to reach, aerial spraying is the recommended treatment.  Fortunately, we have a resident on the lake, Richard Sigurdson, who does aerial spraying.  As an individual homeowner or as an area of homeowners, you may contact him and arrange what areas you would like sprayed.

Contact information for Richard is: Willmar Aerial Spraying Inc.  Office phone 320-523-2186 or 800-358-4560, cell 320-979-8326.

Diamond Lake Sewer Update
Progress on the low-pressure wastewater collection system is in full gear.  To date, 231 of the 310 final connections have been made.  With the great weather recently has allowed the turf restoration crews to be right behind the final connection crews.  To get your lawn restored as quickly as possible we are requesting your assistance with watering your lawn after it has been seeded and sprayed with the bonded fiber matrix (yellow material).

As a reminder for those of you that had your mound system removed please verify that you have shut off the electrical breaker(s) that supplied power to the old system.  If you have not, there is a risk of a short to your electrical system or the possibility that the electrical wires are still live. 

For those who have not been connected to the system: when the contractor's come to make the final connection please confirm that you have shut off power to your existing mound system.  This is accomplished by shutting off the electrical breaker(s) to the mound system.

When you are done for the season or are going to be gone for an extended period of time we are requesting that you do not turn off power to the grinder pump station (i.e. electrical disconnect).  By turning off power at the electrical disconnect you eliminate the alarm that provides warning of a high level in the grinder basin and the grinder pumps will not work without electricity.

If you are not sure, please contact Del Vulcan 320-894-3696 or Dean Helstrom 320-905-1311 for assistance.

Missile Lane

An excellent video introduction to the zebra mussel problem, and a possible solution, presented by Dr. Dan Molloy, can be viewed at the following:  http://minnesotawaters.org/content/zebra-mussel-collection-zequanoxtm-efficiency-evaluation-douglas-county.

Coming in the next (Memorial Day) issue of the Diamond Lake News: report on the (complieted?) fish barrier; vegetation study results; update on the Ducks Unlimited Chain of Lakes diversion project; TMDL results and much less.  To be sure you don't miss a single exciting(?) issue send us any change of address.

The 2011 LAKE DIRECTORY is available for all paid up dues members.  To get an email copy please send your inquiry to Harlan Meints (hmeints61@hotmail.com) or stop by his house (14249 Breezy Point Rd).  Please note: THE DIRECOTRY IS NOT TO BE USED FOR TELEPHONE SOLICITATION PURPOSES.

Association minutes and lots more can be viewed at the Association website, thanks to webmistress Judy Christensen@www.diamondlakemn.com.

Response to Comments on Dues Sheets!
by Harlan Meints, President DLARA

For those of you who were wondering if the directors read the comments on the dues sheets, yes we do.  Following are the directors' best attempt to answer these comments and questions.  We have also forwarded address changes and corrections to the newsletter editor and to the person in charge of directory updates.  Names of person(s) submitting the questions have been omitted.

Directories are available to paid members either via the internet at the following address (hmeints61@hotmail.com) or can be picked up at 14249 Breezy Point Road.

Q:  High water and wind have eroded my beach badly.  What is policy or procedure to obtain a variance to the six foot rule of the DNR?  Need to restore about ten feet of sand beach.  Thank you to all of the directors for your service.

A:  All changes to shoreline and beach area have to be approved by the DBR.  You would need to contact them in Spicer to see what you can do at your property.  You own the property to the shoreline and the State on MN owns the lake.
Q:  When the boat parade is 3pm on July 4th, like this year, many people are packing up to go home after a weekend as most are working the next day.  Result...not many participants for the parade.  July 3rd (Sunday would have been a better day).  Many of us on the lake have discussed this and agree...something to think about.

A:  Since the date of the 4th varies from year to year it was felt it is best to have a true 4th of July parade on the 4th each year.  Other options were discussed at the board of directors meeting.
Q:  High lake level and shoreline damage...which I am sure has been considered, but no answers have evolved.

A:  The level of the lake is regulated by the amount of rainfall and runoff we have; we have had plenty this year.  To change the lake level would require changing the height of the dam at the outlet on the East side of the lake.  To do this would require a petition signed by 100% of the people on the lake.  One person not signing stops any changes to the dam.

Q:  People dumping their weeds or grass clippings in the ditches.  Let them know it is not okay and that we have a dump site in Atwater.

A:  It is against the law to dump trash, brush, leaves and such in county and township ditches.  The directors have talked with the county about this problem.  The directors have also noticed that there is a major problem on the East side of the lake.  The county cannot be here 24/7 to watch for violators.  The county depends upon people turning in polluters.  DLARA is trying to clean up the lake by the many projects we are involve with.  Don't make the problem worse.
Q:  Snow plowing of 159th NW during the winter.  There are times when the drifts are so high you can't plow out, much less an emergency vehicle could get in.

A:  This road it not a county or township road.  IT is up to the people living on this road to maintain and clean it.  You would need a group of residents to go to either the township or county to change this.
Q:  Dogs running loose and leaving feces on our lawns.

A:  There are rules that cover such behavior, also excessive barking.  But again, to get anything done about it you need to call the township board about the problem.
Q:  We are in favor of lifetime dues of $250.

A:  DLARA will accept $250 for lifetime dues.
Q:  Sorry we cannot make the annual meeting.  Is there a reason the meeting is held on Father's Day weekend?  Do most fathers celebrate at the lake?

A: At the annual meeting a few years ago it was voted on to have the annual meeting the third Saturday of June.
Q:  Weeds - possibly spraying or cutting weeds in the whole lake.  We have lots of weeds on our side of the lake.  Please let us know what we can do to get rid of the weeds.

A:  Once again the lake belongs to the state.  If you want to cut weeds you need to contact the DNR for a permit.  Weeds are necessary for the health of the lake and the fish population.  People cutting weeds without permission, late at night, should be turned into the DBR.  A fine is involved.
Q:  Why don't we challenge those who can to pay more that $25 for dues? (paid $50).

A:  Thanks a lot; you are not the only one to do this.
Q:  Don't know if people would pay any attention to it or not...it is obvious that people will do what they want to do regardless of being respectful to their neighbors, etc. but the illegal use of fireworks around the lake is out of control, especially since it occurs more than just on the 4th of July.  Maybe a blurb about law enforcement cracking down on abusers and rude people.  You do a great job on the newsletter.  We appreciate you!

A:  The board has contacted the sheriff's office about this and other problems.  This past year there were more officers visible on and around the lake.  Fireworks were also stopped at 11pm.  Don't know how to stop all illegal fireworks, would need to report violations to sheriff.
Q:  Make speed limit signs more obvious and increase the number of speed limit signs.  24 mph is the speed and no one knows that because signs are not in good spots.  Need to increase awareness before someone gets killed.

A:  Have checked with the township board regarding speeding on Diamond Shores and Breezy Point Road.  We were told that the township has met all requirements as to location and number of speed limit signs.  We also have been checking with county about lowering speed limit on County Road 4.  We haven't got any results from this.  DLARA will keep trying to get changes made.  Remind all people traveling these roads to slow down.