Diamond Lake Area
Recreational Association
Atwater, Minnesota
Diamond Lake News
Twenty-ninth Year
Labor Day Edition 2012
From The President's Chair
by Harlan Meints, President DLARA

As another summer seasons ends here at the lake I am writing to go over a few items that have came up over the past summer.

1.  Even with the very hot and humid weather that we had this year the lake has stayed very clean.  The depth readings taken by Gordie B. and the watershed district have been a lot better than previous years.  Is this a result of the sewer project or just plain luck?
2.  NOTICE!!  DLARA DOES NOT PAY FOR LAKE INSPECTIONS.  Theses inspections, by the county, are paid for by Kandyohi County Lake Association.  DLARA is NOT a member of this organization. Most people see no problem with these inspections as they are meant to stop the spread of invasive species.
3.  I talked with the DNR officer who patrols this lake and he said they have been increasing, statewide, the number of patrols and enforcing the new regulations.  The DNR officer also said the number of inspections will be stepped up even more in the years to come as efforts to stop the spread of invasive species increase.  He also stated that the following should be done when moving boats:  pull all plugs, drain all water, empty all live wells and bait containers. And clean your boat of all weeds.
4.  DLARA is meeting with the DNR about ways to control curly pond leaf on the lake.
5.  DLARA, and the county have placed dumpsters at both accesses on a year round basis.  $500 total cost.  DLARA is paying $300 and the county $200.
6.  Roadwork is to be done on Breezy Point Road this fall with resurfacing being done next spring.
7.  The fish barrier is to be installed this fall.  Project of DNR, DLARA and the watershed district.
8.  People have complained about persons placing trash and refuge in the ditch across from their property.  Remember, this is against the law.  Help keep our lake and area clean. 
9.  Lake directories may be picked up at my place, 14247 Breezy Point Road.  All paid members of DLARA can receive the directories.
10.  REMINDER!!  Dues for DLARA are only $25/year.  A lot is being done with these dues.  Thanks to those who have paid their dues.  Everyone on the lake benefits from the projects the dues finance.

If you have wants, needs or questions contact me or any board member.  Have a good fall and winter

Rumor Put To Rest

We have heard that the DNR is telling boaters that the lake association (which they take to mean the Diamond Lake Area Recreational Association, ours truly) is paying the DNR to provide extra weekend patrols on Diamond Lake. WE ARE NOT DOING SO. The rumor appears to originate from statements made by a DNR officer to those he has stopped. The truth is that the Kandiyohi County Lake Association is providing the pay-ment. Our Association is not a member of that association. We are asking the DNR to make that distinction when informing boaters. We would, however, be interested in your opinion as to whether we should be part of the effort or not. You may contact any board member with your opinion.

Diamond Lake Area Project
by Josh Kavanaugh, Ducks Unlimited Biologist

Last year the Diamond Lake Area Recreational Association teamed up with the Middle Fork Crow River Watershed District and Ducks Unlimited to investigate the feasibility of actively managing water levels on the Hubbard, Schultz, and Wheeler Lake Chain.

Active water level management is a tool used to improve water quality and wildlife habitat by restoring the aquatic ecology or natural balance within the lake.  Just as fire maintains the health of prairies, we know through science that shallow lakes and wetlands require periods of low water or droughts to stay healthy and productive.  This is especially true today given the various landscape and watershed challenges we face.  Through water level management undesirable fish such as carp can be controlled and basin sediments exposed to become consolidated and aerated.  Rooted aquatic plants germinate from the natural seed bank and help anchor those sediments further. Aquatic vegetation also buffers nutrients from the water column and provides valuable habitat for aquatic animals, invertebrates, and waterfowl.  Through active water level management shallow lakes can persist in a clear water healthy condition vs. a deteriorated turbid water condition that provides little benefit to wildlife or people.

Ducks Unlimited through their “Living Lakes” initiative is strategically focused on enhancing shallow lake habitats in MN and have become specialized in designing water control structures and fish barriers.  Last fall DU performed a detailed topographic survey of the Diamond Lake area. After extensive modeling and conceptual design work they have determined that a project to manage the Hubbard, Schultz, and Wheeler Chain of lakes is feasible pending extensive permitting, and acquiring the necessary agreements and easements. Here is what is being proposed:

Site #1 -  A water control structure is being proposed on Schultz Lake that would include +/- 2,100 feet of 24” pipe. A concrete in-line water control structure would also be installed to appropriately manage water levels. This structure would be used for draw down management only.  The structure would outlet directly into County Ditch 28, branch 6.  Installation of this structure as proposed would require 30 foot cuts in some areas but it would allow Schultz Lake to be drawn down from its current depth of approximately 8 feet to within 1 foot of the lake bottom. 

Site #2 - A concrete water control structure is being proposed on North Wheeler Lake, under 180th street, which would allow managers the ability to draw North Wheeler down to within approximately 2 feet of the lake bottom. 

Site #3 - A concrete water control structure is being proposed between North and South Wheeler. This would allow managers to completely dewater South Wheeler Lake.

Site #4 - A fixed sheet pile weir would be driven upstream of the proposed DNR fish barrier to maintain water levels on Diamond Lake.

Hubbard Lake - Channel work is being proposed in between Hubbard and South Wheeler Lake that would allow draw down of up to 3 – 4 feet on Hubbard Lake.

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is planning to install a fish barrier in between Diamond Lake and Hubbard Lake in 2012.

Reasonable channel work would be required for these proposed water control structures to function.  Watershed modeling indicates that there should be no adverse effects to Diamond Lake water levels under normal precipitation patterns.  Estimated draw down and refill times also look to be within reasonable limits.  Implementing this project will require several private easements, a public hearing, County and Township agreements as well as all the necessary permitting.  We hope to fund the vast majority of this project through public grant sources.  The Middle Fork Crow River Watershed District would assume responsibility of the water control structures and operating plan. 

Moving forward Ducks Unlimited will continue working with the Middle Fork Crow River Watershed District, the Diamond Lake Area Recreational Association, Minnesota DNR and other partners to develop a comprehensive management plan for the entire lake system.  Ducks Unlimited will complete preliminary design and design reports for each of the proposed water control structures that can then be used to help secure the necessary agreements, easements, and permits that are required to implement this project. Cost estimates will also be provided so that various grants can be pursued to help fund the project. 

Several stages remain before this project can be implemented but everyone remains very optimistic that in a few years the Diamond Lake Area can be enhanced for humans and wildlife alike.  If you have any questions about this project please contact Josh Kavanagh (Ducks Unlimited Biologist) 320-354-3749 or Chad Anderson (Middle Fork Crow River Watershed District) 320-796-0888.

Ice Safety
by Sheriff Hartog

I was asked to write an article regarding safety on the ice and I am writing this in August, which is kind of depressing since I don’t want to think about winter weather!  This past winter season (2011-2012) we saw ice conditions where the thickness of the ice varied quite a bit.  We had two vehicles and an ATV go through the ice, on Diamond Lake, and thankfully no one was injured.

When venturing out onto the ice, keep in mind that no ice is 100% safe.  Before you go out on the ice, make sure the ice is safe by checking the ice thickness.  Some of the ways of checking the ice thickness is by using an ice chisel or ice auger and a tape measure.  When checking the ice thickness, you should keep in mind that ice thickness can change from area to area in a very short distance.  A general guideline used for ice thickness and what it will support is the following:
Two inches or less - stay off the ice.
Four inches – ice fishing and other activities on foot.
Five inches – snowmobile or ATV.
Eight to twelve inches – car or small pick-up.
Twelve to fifteen inches – medium size truck.

The above recommendations concerning ice thickness are based on new and clear solid ice. 
Keep in mind that ice that has formed near currents or running water is dangerous and the ice thickness around the running water can vary greatly.  A flock of geese or ducks can keep an opening in the ice.  After they leave, the ice does start to form, and it is not going to be the same thickness as the surrounding ice. 

When driving cars and trucks on the ice, make sure you know that the ice will support your vehicle and to leave a method of escape from your vehicle if your vehicle does go into the water.  The best method of escape is by leaving your window(s) down so that you can immediately escape the vehicle.  If your vehicle breaks through the ice, it is possible that you will be unable to open the vehicle doors.

If you do end up in the water, don’t panic!  Turn toward the direction that you were traveling and try to pull yourself on the ice by placing your arms and hands on the ice.  The one item that could assist you in getting back onto the ice would be to always make sure to carry some large nails that are tied around your neck with a piece of string.  You could also carry a screwdriver or something that would be sharp so that if you do go through the water, you could grab the makeshift picks, place those into the ice, and pull yourself back onto the ice.

If you are with somebody else and they fall into the water, the safest way to get them out of the water is throw them some rope or get something you would be able to get to them without yourself going next to the hole and the ice that they fell through.  Call 9-1-1 immediately if you happen to have your cell phone with. Another scenario is when individuals go out onto the lake on a clear day.  As evening sets in, fog will also set in, and when you go to leave the lake, you find that you cannot see the shoreline and become easily disoriented.  The best thing to do if this situation arises is to wait out the fog, hoping that it will lift, so that you will be able to see the shoreline.  We have had cases where people have left their ice fishing houses and felt they were going the right direction, but have ended up driving onto thin ice or open water. 

Information from the Department of Natural Resources shows that since 1976 there have been almost 200 people that have died by going through the ice on different lakes throughout the state. 

Always keep in mind to respect the ice, there is no ice that is 100% safe, and ice conditions can and will change.  Have a safe winter!

Missle Lane

The Lake Association provides dumpsters at both lake accesses. These are for visitors or other non-residents who might otherwise toss their garbage in the lake. We could pro-bably hold our breadth until we bust to get people to exercise common decency and dispose of their garbage in a responsible way – this is one way to do it with minimal inconvenience. We hope they will use the dumpsters and not the ditches, of the lake itself.  Lake residents who need only occasional disposal service should call either Miller Sanitation (974-3050 ) or West Central Sanitation (235-7630).

A report was published in the West Central Tribune that zebra mussels were believed to be found in Lake Minewaska (Glenwood), which is part of the Chippewa River watershed. Norway, Florida, Games and Andrew Lakes in Kandiyohi County are also in the watershed. This is very bad news. 

Acronyms Gone Wild: DLARA & MFCRWD Team Up For Ed
by Vanessa Glieden Henjum, MFCRWD

That is so cool!” is a sentiment that is often heard when the MFCRWD works with the 5th grade class at the ACGC School District as part of its STREAM (Student-Targeted Resource Education Awareness and Management) program.  The program is designed to help teachers meet their state academic standards while incorporating activities that teach students about water quality and watersheds, and how their actions can affect the lakes we all love.  Some of the topics that students cover include erosion, macroinvertebrates (the little bugs that live in the water), and water quality testing on Diamond Lake. This program has been a great success in-part due to the financial assistance that the school receives from DLARA!   The donations from the Lake Association help fund the hands-on experiences that form memories that will last a lifetime.  Planting the seed on the importance of water quality and responsible land management is so important, because before we know it, these impressionable, excited 5th graders will be our community leaders and decisions makers!  Thank you, DLARA!