Diamond Lake Area
Recreational Association
Atwater, Minnesota
Diamond Lake News
Thirty-second Year
Labor Day 4th Edition 2015
The Good Ship BMPs Has Pulled Into Harbor
(and it's loaded with MONEY)
    The mission of the Middle Fork Crow River Water District is to protect and preserve water quality in the watershed.  The District currently has available many great cost-share and incentive opportunities for landowners to get involved in achieving this mission.  Listed below are some of the programs available to you.  Please see our website (www.mfcrow.org) for more information and opportunities.

    Diamond Lake TMDL Implementation Projects Grant:  This funding is available to implement practices outlined in the Diamond Lake TMDL Agricultural Conservation Program to reduce the remaining Diamond Lake phosphorus load by 759.5lbs/yr.  Projects can include, but aren’t limited to; wetland restorations, water and sediment control basins, side inlet controls, and buffer strips.  $176,000 IS AVAILABLE through this grant fund requiring 25% cost-share by landowner for each approved project.

    Developed Partners Expanded Resource Accomplishment Grant:  This grant provides an avenue for non-profit organizations (such as the Diamond Lake Association) to receive dollars needed to install practices on their adjacent resource through use of sub-grants.  $25,000 OF GRANT DOLLARS ARE AVAILABLE per non-profit; requiring a 25% total match by landowner. 

    Restoration Loan Program:  This allows the District to provide financial assistance to District residents interested in septic upgrades as well as Best Management Practices (BMPs) through low interest loans.  $100,000 IS AVAILABLE through this program.

    Agriculture Incentive Program:  The incentives provided through the Ag Incentive Program come from the District general fund at the discretion of the MFCRWD Board of Managers.  Incentives may be provided to those implementing Best Management Practices such as conservation buffers, controlled drainage, feedlot upgrades, alternative tile intakes, streambank stabilization/restorations, nutrient management plans, sediment basins and more.  See our website for further conservation options and incentives.

    Water is arguably our most valuable and precious resource.  Let us help you in taking responsibility in protecting and preserving it. Questions? Call the Middle Fork Crow River Watershed District office @ 320-796-0888; Margaret Johnson, Administrator, Middle Fork Crow River Watershed District, 320.796.0888

From the President's Chair - Odds & Ends for the Year

1. The weed project is proceeding following the informational meeting held on August 12th in Atwater.  The next step comes this fall when the North Fork Crow River Watershed District will hold an open meeting for their board to approve the project or not.  If approved, all property owners around the lake will help pay for the treatment of invasive species.  The DNR will determine what, where and when to treat.  Some years no treatment may be needed.  The only weeds we can treat are curly leaf pondweed.  All other weeds are considered native and cannot be sprayed. Contact the local DNR in Spicer with questions about weeds in your area.  Curly leaf pondweed grows under the ice during the winter and usually dies out the first part of June. By treating the CLPD before the water temperature reaches 60 degrees the plant is killed when it is still short in stature, this cuts down on weeds on shore and also the amount of phosphorus released into the lake.

2.This year DLARA paid for treatment of 21.4 acres by the point on the North West side.  DLARA has received a grant and a check from the AIS committee in Kandiyohi County to pay for half the cost of this treatment.  The rest of the money to pay for this treatment is coming from dues paid by members of DLARA. Total cost was around $9,000.  We received $4,500 from the County.  Thanks to all who have joined DLARA to help pay for the treatment of test areas these past three years. Chemical treatment has done a very good job.

3.The tri lakes project by Ducks Unlimited to draw down Hubbard, Schultz and Wheeler lakes is moving forward with a meeting at 7:00 on Sept. 2 in Willmar at the Health and Human Services Building. This project will cost over one million dollars and will help regulate the amount of phosphorus entering the lake (studies show about 70% comes from here). Hopefully the project will start in the fall of 2016. The tri lakes will be drawn down over the winter to allow for fish kill and then be allowed to fill to a depth of between 1 to 3 feet. Native vegetation will return and help stop the flow of phosphorus into Diamond. The project has rules and regulation that control when and how often drawdown can occur. Ducks Unlimited is funding this project.

4.Membership in DLARA is at an all-time high of 263 members at this time.  2015 membership list is included in this newsletter. Haven’t paid dues yet? Not too late, just $25 to improve the quality of Diamond Lake life.  Thanks to all who joined and helping to removed Diamond from the impaired water list.

5.Directories are available on line on the web site.  If you don’t have access to internet stop at 14249 Breezy Pt. Rd. to pick one up.

6.Working with the watershed district, DLARA has placed 5 zebra mussels stations around the lake.  These will be looked at regularly and results reported to DNR and the water district.  Remember to check you dock and lifts for mussels this fall as you remove them.

7.At the meeting in Atwater it was brought up that ALL resident need to help keep our lake clean.  DON”T mow grass into the lake, Phosphorus.   DON”T mow grass onto roads as this end up in lake. Phosphorus.  DON”T allow leaves to blow into lake in the fall.  Phosphorus.  DON”T apply fertilizer high in phosphorus to your lawn.  Phosphorus.  Phosphorus, I know helps your lawn grow. Runoff into lake causes weed to grow, then people complain about weeds on shore.  Everyone please do your part no matter how small. Thanks.

Have a great fall and winter and be safe.  Drain and clean you boat to prevent spread of invasive species.  Reminder Green Lake has Zebra mussels.

Harlan Meints  President Diamond Lake Area Recreational Association

    Everything You Wanted to Know
    (about the Hubbard, Wheeler Schultz Management Plan).

Increasing Water Quality: Multiple benefit project for Diamond, Hubbard, Wheeler, and Schultz Lakes

By: Middle Fork Crow River Watershed District and Ducks Unlimited

    In 2011, Ducks Unlimited partnered with the Middle Fork Crow River Watershed District and the Diamond Lake Area Recreational Association to investigate the feasibility of actively managing water levels on the Hubbard, Schultz, and Wheeler Lake chain of lakes to enhance their condition. Active water level management is a tool used by wildlife managers to improve water quality and wildlife habitat within wetlands and shallow lakes by enhancing the aquatic ecology and natural balance within a basin. Just as fire maintains the ecological health of prairies, we know through science and experience that shallow lakes and wetlands require periods of low water and drought to exist in a productive, clear water state. This is especially true today given the degree to which our landscapes and watersheds have been drained and altered, combined with the effect of invasive fish such as carp that negatively affect our remaining wetlands and shallow lakes.

    Through active water level management, undesirable fish such as carp can be controlled and suspended nutrient levels lowered in shallow lakes. Through temporary water level draw-downs, basin sediments are exposed, consolidated, and aerated to allow rooted aquatic plants to germinate from natural seed banks that absorb nutrients and help anchor bottom sediments. Submerged and emergent aquatic vegetation also provides valuable habitat for aquatic animals, invertebrates, and waterfowl. Through active water level management, shallow lakes can be managed to persist in a clear water healthy condition, whereas deteriorated, turbid water conditions provides little benefit to wildlife or people.

    Through our Living Lakes conservation initiative, Ducks Unlimited is strategically focused on enhancing shallow lake habitats in Minnesota and has bio-engineering expertise in designing water control structures and fish barriers to achieve our mission. In 2011 and 2012, DU performed detailed topographic survey of the Diamond Lake area. After extensive modeling and conceptual design work¸ DU engineers determined that a project to manage the Hubbard, Schultz, and Wheeler chain of lakes is feasible, pending permits, agreements, and easements required to implement the project.

    Channel work will be required for these proposed water control structures to function as designed. Watershed modeling indicates that there should be no adverse effects to Diamond Lake water levels or to the downstream drainage system of Brach 6, County Ditch 28 under normal precipitation patterns. Estimated draw-down and refill time appear reasonable, however, implementing this project will require several private easements, a public hearing, county and township agreements, and state permitting. DU will fund the vast majority of this project through state Outdoor Heritage Fund grants. The Middle Fork Crow River Watershed District will presumably assume responsibility of the water control structures and operating plan in cooperation with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

    The MN DNR 103G.408 Public Hearing for Temporary Drawdown of Public Waters and Drainage Hearing will be on Wednesday, September 2nd at 7PM: Health and Human Services Building 2200 23rd St NE #1020, Willmar, MN 56201. Questions? Call Middle Fork Crow River Watershed District Office at 320-796-0888

Aquatic Plant Management

About 45 people attended an August 12 hearing in Atwater convened by the Middle Fork Crow River Watershed District to take public testimony regarding a proposal to tax Diamond Lake and 1st tier property owners in order to finance the application of chemicals to reduce the nuisance weed, curly leaf pondweed. Presentations were made by the District attorney John Kolb, project engineer Chris Meehan, property appraiser Ron Renquist and District manager Margaret Johnson. District Chairman Dr. Robert Hodapp explained the Board was interested in comments relating to the chemical treatment proposal and the assessment process. Diamond Lake resident Gory Behm, one of the Watershed directors, was there too.

    Questions and comments lasted over an hour. Most fell into one of three categories. First, was the project treating only the symptoms and not the causes of the phosphorous loading (phosphorous is the villain chemical causing the curly leaf pondweed to flourish)? Johnson replied that there is a 5-point plan to address the problem: connecting to the sewer district (done), draining the Chain of Lakes to kill the rough fish (planned: see her article elsewhere in this News), educating lakeshore owners on best practices, controlling the curly leaf pondweed and implementing watershed best management practices (see notice about grant fund in this News).

     Second, some wondered about the effect of chemical treatment on fish and users of the lake. According to Project Engineer Meehan the chemical (endothall) doesn’t affect fish and biodegrades over time. It is applied when the water is cold, 50 degrees max, so it is unlikely there will be swimmers in the lake at the time. Nevertheless there is a 24-hour restriction at the time of application. There are virtually no feasible alternatives and using a mechanical harvester is hugely expensive.

    Third, has the installation of the sewer improved water quality?  Margaret Johnson noted that it takes several years of results before this can be determined because “there can be different wet years and dry years, water levels, weather, etc. that affect the water quality naturally.” An analysis will be done after the other parts of the implementation plan (see article referenced above) have been completed.

    There were no questions about the method or amount of assessment that will be levied.