Zebra Mussel Information and Update
by Harlan Meints, President DLARA
It has been about 2 months since the DNR declared Diamond Lake to be an infected lake. During this time I have not seen or heard any other reports or sightings of these striped creatures. I will try to share some information and ideas that will have an impact on all residents and visitors.
Zebra mussels are native to the Caspian and Black Seas of Russia and Ukraine. They have spread from here by traveling in the Ballast water of transatlantic vessels. They entered the US by way of the Great Lakes in the late 1980’s. They have since spread to more than 24 states by following the Mississippi River and other lakes out of the Great Lakes. They are spread mainly by man in boats, trailers, jet skis, etc.
When zebra mussels invade a body of water they do the following: 1) to eat they filter vast quantities of water thru their gills to remove plankton (small green algae) form the water, this plankton is food for young fish. 2) Grow and reproduce rapidly forcing out native clams. 3) Have very few natural predators in the US. 4) Can survive out of water for up to 30 days. 5) Have a microscopic life stage that humans cannot see, making it very easy to transport them from infected bodies of water.
Zebra mussels have a “D” shaped shell, ranging from ¼ inch to 1 ½ inch in size. Adults are usually fingernail sized. They have yellow and brownish colored stripes. Adults can filter up to 1 quart of water per day thru their body. They use threads called byssal threads to attach themselves to firm surfaces in the lake, boats, motor, docks, lifts, rocks, branches, pipes and water hoses. An adult zebra mussel starts to produce eggs at around 2 years of age. One female can produce from 100,000 to 500,000 eggs per year. A free swimming larvae, called a veliger, is produced and swims around for two to three weeks while it grows and forms a shell. It then attaches itself to a solid substrate. Tens of thousands of mussels can be found in a square yard. Their shells are very sharp and simmers and waders need to beware. Also be careful when using ladders left in the water; mussels will also attach to them. Zebra mussels have a 3 to 5 year life span. It is also common for mussels to go thru 3 to 5 year cycles of high and low populations.
When removing your boats, lifts, decks, ladders, floats and lake pipes you will need to be on the lookout for zebra mussels. Remember they are very sharp so handle your equipment with care. You should remove and dispose of the mussel when you find them. If not removed they will build up and increase the weight of your structures. Boats and motors should be up out of the water when not being used to prevent the mussels from blocking the intake port of the boat causing the boat to overheat. You should also inspect the pipes and filters used to water your lawn if you get water from the lake. The mussels can plug the filter blocking the flow of water. You also need to beware of the hose that transports the water to shore. It may become encased with mussels and be very sharp to handle when you remove it in the fall. You might want to check your lake filters during the year to see about possible buildup. It takes about 30 days of drying to kill mussels and veliger’s. If water is allowed to stand on or in your water crafts this water could contain veliger’s. If they remain wet, they grow into zebra mussels that attach to inside or outside of your craft. Make sure your craft does not contain standing water.
At the present time there is no know treatment for bodies infected with zebra mussels. Scientists are working to find ways to rid a lake of these invasive species: so far no answers. Humans spread these organisms from body to body so we need to be sure that you drain all water out of your watercraft when leaving the lake. You can also use a motor muff to clean out the engine if it has been in the water for a period of time. This will help flush out mussels from the inside of your motors. There are available for under $10 in most boat places.
If you find zebra mussels on your structures the board would like to know about it either by word of mouth to board members or pictures sent to my email. Hmeints61@hotmail.com No one knows what effect the zebra mussels will have on the lake. Because of the lack of strata found on the lake bottom our lake may be less impacted then those lakes with a large number of rock on the bottom. Only time will tell. Please help by keeping the board informed as you close up this fall. Thanks for your help!
Hubbard, Wheeler & Schultz Lakes Area Project
Hubbard, Wheeler and Schultz Lakes are shallow lakes in Kandiyohi County east of Willmar, MN that historically provided excellent wildlife habitat and water quality. Unfortunately, these lakes have become degraded over time and now offer poor water quality and habitat conditions. Common carp have been unmanaged within the system, further exacerbating the lake’s problems. At 462 total acres and with an average depth of 4.25 to 6.5 feet, aquatic plants should grow throughout the entire chain of lakes. Plants are key to any healthy shallow lake system, lack of plants is indicative of these poor conditions. The Middle Fork Crow River Watershed District, the DLARA, the MN DNR and Ducks Unlimited partnered to develop a plan to enhance, and manage the chain of lakes to improve water quality and wildlife habitat.
Schultz Lake (167 acres), Wheeler Lake (238 acres) and Hubbard Lake (57 acres) all went through a public hearing process pursuant of M.S. 103G.408 which allows for temporary water level drawdown. A comprehensive management plan for the shallow lake chain was signed in Oct 2015. Partners developed a series of water control structure’s that will allow the DNR to manage the Hubbard, Wheeler and Schultz Lake system. Construction began in fall of 2016 and will be completed in 2018. The DNR began a managed drawdown in July 2017. Water levels were held low through the winter of 2017/2018 but full drawdown was not achieved. Full drawdown was attained in May 2018 but was short lived due to heavy rains and flooding. In early June the Schultz Lake water control structure was closed. The DNR hopes to resume drawdown again in Aug or Sept and to reach full drawdown goals this winter. Full drawdown will help remove invasive fish from the lakes, consolidate sediments and nutrients and allow aquatic plants to grow. Water levels will be gradually restored via watershed recharge throughout the following year.
Both Schultz and Wheeler Lakes have seemed to respond favorably to recent management activities. On July 25 the DNR investigated Schultz Lake and found the basin to be nearly entirely vegetated with submersed aquatic plants including sago pondweed and niad species. Water clarity was to the bottom throughout the basin exceeding 4 feet at some locations. This is a substantial improvement to past assessments which have documented very few aquatic plants and water clarity of no more than .5 feet. Wheeler Lake was also very clear and fully vegetated with curly leaf pondweed being the most prominent species at present. A band of cattail has also been established around the perimeter of both lakes. Full drawdown this winter will support these improvements by helping eliminate existing undesirable fish communities and freezing out curly leaf turions thereby promoting establishment of more desirable native plants.
Healthy shallow lakes require clear water with abundant aquatic plants and invertebrates. Unfortunately, most of MN’s prairie shallow lakes are degraded and turbid due to increased inflows of water and nutrients’ caused by intensively drained landscapes and altered watershed hydrology. In addition, high, stable water levels and increased connectivity have allowed undesirable fish such as fathead minnows, black bullhead and common carp to access and overwinter in many shallow lakes and wetlands. Over time aquatic plans and invertebrates are slowly replaced by algae and fish, and nutrient laden bottom sediments are suspended in the water column, resulting in turbid unhealthy conditions. These degraded conditions typically persist until a dramatic ecological event such as drought, fish kill or active management occurs to rest the ecology and flip the basin back into a clear water condition dominated by aquatic plants and invertebrates.
The Hubbard, Wheeler and Schultz Lake Enhancement Project was funded through a 2014 state appropriate from MN’s Outdoor Heritage Fund as recommended by the Lessard-Sams Outdoor Heritage Council. Additional funding was provided by the Middle Fork Crow Watershed District, the North American Wetland Conservation Act and through private philanthropic Ducks Unlimited “Living Lakes Initiative” contributions.
How Often to Pump Your Septic Tank
By: Eric Van Dyken, Asst Zoning Admin,
Dept of Environmental Services, Kandioyhi County
Your septic tank must be cleaned or “pumped” periodically to remove the solids that accumulate in the tank. How often you need to clean your septic tank depends on its size, the number of people using the system, and how careful you are about using it. In new homes, clean it prior to occupation. Clean it again within six to twelve months to make sure it is functioning properly. Wastewater from painting, vanishing and other construction activities can reduce bacterial activity in new systems.
Once a system is operating properly, the tank should be cleaned every one to three years. Never go more than three years between cleanings. MN codes require that a licensed professional do cleaning thru the tank’s manhole. Proper cleaning removes the scum and sludge. Liquid contents are pumped back and forth from the truck to the tank or mixed mechanically until all solids are liquefied and removed. If floating scum is left in the tank, solids may enter the drain field. Cleaning leaves a black film on the sides of the tank and a small amount of liquid on the bottom. These contain bacteria, which allow the tank to begin working again. There is no need to add a starter after cleaning.
The contractor should inspect the tank to make sure baffles are in place and functioning properly. Contractors cleaning the tank through four or six “inspection pipes” often do not remove all solids and may damage baffles. Insist that your contractor clean the tank through the manhole. Most tanks have one or two manholes that are often buried below the ground surface. A little digging may be necessary to find them. Remember a few dollars spent every one or two years on proper cleaning can save you big dollars on repairs.
County Road 4 Around Diamond Lake Project Update
Construction is currently underway on County Road 4. The project extends from US12 up to County Road 10 just east of Spicer. Construction on this 7 mile project began on July 23r and is anticipated to be substantially complete by August 2019.
When completed, the road will have 6 foot shoulders outside the driving lanes. Four feet of the shoulder will e paved and the rest gravel. An off road trail is also included in the improvement and extends from 49th Ave NE to Diamond Lake Park. This part of the project will be paved in the summer/fall of 2019.
You will also see major improvements within Diamond Lake County Park. The road will be removed through the park, the parking lot will be rebuilt and a water quality infiltration system will be installed. The beach will also be improved to be more user friendly with new trees being planted and a new entrance road out to the relocated County Road 4 constructed.
Local residential traffic is allowed within the project limits but there may be delays due to the construction. Please be aware that as conditions change (contractor progress, weather, etc.) local traffic patterns need to change accordingly. County Road 26 will be closed for the first part of September as we regrade this section.
For further information and project updates, visit our website: http://www.co.kandiyohi.mn.us/departments/public_works/road_construction.php
MN Lakes & Rivers is an advocacy group for, guess what? Yup. They have referenced a suite of very short, entertaining videos under the rubric “Be a Transport Hero. Transport Zero”. Topics include using decon stations, drying out on land, cleaning your anchor, draining all water and much more. Just search for “LB Video Productions” and click away. I am told that it is available at www.lbvideo.pro. While the cat may be out of the bag for zebra mussels there will likely be more pharaonic plagues in Diamond Lake’s future, to wit:
When zebra mussels aren’t enough learn about invasive phragmites at the MN Aquatic Species Research Center. The web address is too long to show here, just browse using the name.
On the other hand there may be hope, according to MN Lakes & Rivers. The Christmas Lake Association (western Mpls suburbs) is testing to see if a native MN weevil can be used to eat and control Eurasian Water Milfoil.
by Harlan Meints, DLARA President
I have been asked by several people about the buoys on Dog Fish Bay and the no wake zone. After checking with the DNR I was informed that the DNR does not control this, it is controlled by the county sheriff’s department. I checked with the sheriff’s department and was informed that the first three were used to indicate a no wake zone. The sheriff stated he did not know who or when the other buoys were placed in the bay. It is illegal to place buoys in a lake without first contacting the sheriff’s department, boating and water safety division.
Since there was no permission given the extra buoys are going to be removed by the county. If you wish to keep the buoys in place you need to contact the sheriff’s office to get permission. The county is concerned because they might be held liable if an accident occurred because of buoy placement. The public also needs to know what the buoys represent, danger or sage passage. The NO WAKE ZONE is for ALL of DOG FISH BAY. Beware of sunken tree stumps in the shallow water.