Aquatic Invasice Species Update
by Eric Hohman, AIS Committee Chairman
Aquatic invasive species (AIS) are organisms (plant or animal) that invade ecosystems beyond their natural, historic range. They are a serious threat to native ecosystems, recreational enjoyment and property values. They may even harm our health. Because lakes are available to everyone, the spread of AIS is unpreventable. Infestation is not a matter of “If”, but rather “when” and “how bad”. DNR regulations to treat AIS have evolved over the years but today the rules continue to be very restrictive.
Your lake association has been working hard to lessen the detrimental impact of these invaders. We have teamed up with the Middle Fork Little Crow Water District (MFCRWD), Kandiyohi County, the Department of Natural Resources and the University of Minnesota to monitor and manage water quality.
In 2018 the DNR could no longer survey lakes in Minnesota because the weed problem had grown to exceed the resources of the department. By then, grant funding for treatment had gotten very competitive and in some cases had dried up. At Diamond Lake, concentrated spot treatment costing $11,500 in extremely heavy infestations in a 20 acre area were performed in 2018.
In the Fall of 2018 a survey of the lake was performed and the results did not contain good news. A heavy presence of CLP in two areas along the western shores of the lake and on the eastern side of Breezy Point was discovered. It was becoming apparent that our treatments were not keeping up with the rising increases of infestation. Up until this point, the cost for treatment had been shared 50/50 between the Kandiyohi County Water Task Force and your lake association.
After extensive research, your association hired a different vendor, Limnopro, to apply chemical on 20 acres in the problem areas identified in the 2018 survey. We also ordered an extensive survey around the entire lake in the spring of 2019 to determine the seriousness of the problem. The June 2019 survey results showed severe CLP infestations in the southeastern third of the lake that called for treatment of 83 acres. The projected cost for treatment was budgeted to be $79,000 and Kandiyohi County provided $9000 in grant money toward the project.
The remaining $70,000 came from real estate property tax assessment funds. The Middle Fork Crow River Water District administers the handling of the real estate tax funds and helps us write a project work plan to control AIS each year. The work plan provides a good overview but the actual process covers 17 months for each treatment that we do annually.
The process begins each year with a survey the lake in June. Based on the findings, a budget andgrant application is submitted to Kandiyohi County in July. Preliminary DNR permitting is obtained in late summer and estimates for chemical applications by vendors are obtained. The following spring a second survey to finalize the treatment areas is performed to allow us to pinpoint the critically needed treatment areas. This also helps us to get the best outcome for money spent. Approval for the treatment to be performed is considered by the DLARA Board along with payment for the work upon satisfactory completion. The timing of the mid-June
Despite the creation of many regulations since Curley-leaf Pondweed was first discovered in Minnesota, the weed continues to spread. Today the weed can be found in most Minnesota lakes and if it is left unchecked, snarling mats of weeds floating on the surface can bring boat traffic to a halt. Treatment options continue to be restrictive and unfortunately they are also expensive. But your lake association is doing its best to manage this serious problem by making thoughtful, prudent decisions regarding the money you have entrusted to us. If you would like to learn more or have a discussion, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Kandiyohi County District 5 County Commissioner Election
As editor I thought this would be a good time to ask the 3 announced candidates for district 5 county commissioner to answer questions pertaining to lake issues prior to the August 11, 2020 primary election. Leading off is the response from our long time county commissioner Harlan Madsen who has withdrawn from the race but whose name will appear on the ballot anyway. The lake association has not deliberated on these issues but I am as interested in candidate ways thinking as in their particular position on the issues (Bob Meyerson, Editor).
The 3 questions are:
(1) What can Kandiyohi County do to mitigate the spread of invasives such as zebra mussels, starry stonewort and others? Do you favor watercraft inspections with new certificates required every time watercraft move to new waters?
(2) What policies or restrictions might be introduced to mitigate shoreline erosion caused by watercraft? Should lake size matter?
(3) How might Kandiyohi County encourage Best Management Practices (BMPs) on land in the watershed to reduce chemical runoff into our lakes and aquafers?
Harlan Madsen's Response
A response to your questions would be —- Every one of those issues comes down to personal responsibility and a civic duty to do the right thing for the greater good of a broad community. I don’t care what the issue is - if people reject science and facts and follow only the social media garbage and find the “facts”that affirm only what they want to believe— we will be in a world of hurt. Water quality, COVID, GMO, AIS, BMP, systemic racism , mental health , welfare, etc ——-whatever the topic - THE FOCUS MUST BE ON SOLUTIONS BASED ON SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH AND DATA WHICH IS EVIDENCE BASED NOT ON WANTING TO MINIMIZE AND VILIFY SOMEONE FOR NOT AGREEING WITH THEM HOW DID WE ALLOW SOCIETY TO GO SO FAR DOWN THIS SPIRAL?
Thanks for the years of conversation. Harlan
Below is a copy of the letter sent to all county staff:
It is with heavy emotion and yet a deep sense of gratitude to each of you, that I announce that I am suspending my re-election campaign. The last few days have again been a roller coaster of emotion with lots of tears shed.
Because of a recent occurrence of my on-going heart issues, it becomes necessary that I reduce my schedule and stress load and that I focus on my family and my health as priorities. I will be retiring at the end of 2020, completing 26 years of serving Kandiyohi County. It has been a privilege to hear first-hand of the respect that people have for you and your great work.
I will cherish the next few months and the interactions that we will have during that time. Thank you for your dedication and career of service to our residents.
It has truly been an honor to represent Kandiyohi County and to work together with you to improve the quality of life for the people in our county.
Duane Anderson's Response
Answer 1: Kandiyohi County is known for its beautiful lakes and productive farmland. Creating a healthy balance between these two resources are important to everyone in our county.
Although the biggest part of my adult life has been spent farming, my interest in having clean lakes and water in Kandiyohi County for recreational purposes is very high. When I was growing up, I would go swimming, water skiing, and fishing in our area lakes. Later in my adult years, I took up scuba diving. I dived locally in George Lake and Green Lake, and in Minnesota’s Lake Superior. These experiences and my time on the former Kandiyohi County Water Planning Task Force have given me an appreciation of both of these worlds.
In dealing with invasive species, a good resource that can help us understand how complex the issues are when enacting any mitigation efforts is The Minnesota Aquatic Invasive Species Research Center, www.maisrc.umn.edu/our-research. I believe any action taken to mitigate these “pests” should have meaningful and measurable outcomes for each specific body of water. Our objective should be to conserve landscapes and restore waters in balance with nature, and enable everyone to enjoy one of our county’s biggest assets; its lakes, waters and landscape.
Education about invasive species at public accesses as well as cleaning stations and self policing and inspection is the most effective method combined with random checks at the points of entry into our lakes and waterways. Any actions we take should be consistent, sustainable over time and affordable to the taxpayer and the recreational user. If we approach mitigation in a piecemeal fashion, frustration, waste and a high financial burden will be the result.
The questions that may need to be addressed regarding boat certification between lakes are:
Do they meaningfully and measurably protect or restore a beneficial use in a specific lake?
Will they affect the spread of the invasive species at issue, or are there other factors that diminish great swimming, fishing or boating?
I believe that we need to know our lakes’ current conditions and decide where we want them to be in the future, setting goals for 10, 20 or even 50 years from now. If actions are taken to improve our county’s waters, I want to make sure those efforts have positive results, and that we are transparent in our findings.
Answer 2: Similar to my response in question 1: Scientific sound conservation and with an eye on the cost to benefit should guide all policies or restrictions. This question suggests that watercraft are a meaningful and measurable cause of shoreline erosion. Are watercraft the issue of algal blooms and shoreline erosion, or might there be carp devastating the native plant communities; stripping the lake of natural buffering? Are there issues or concerns arising from previously constructed outlet controls impacting lake level fluctuations? Are there land uses which could be mitigated by low impact development that County citizens could voluntarily implement? A neighbor to neighbor program could help conservation at a lower cost and help more powerfully than a regulatory solution. Lake size may or may not be a contributing factor once beneficial use, needed restoration or protection, and cause of the erosion are understood.
Answer 3: As a farmer, I am very aware of these issues. When I was a kid, farmers turned everything black in the fall so the ground would be ready to plant the following spring. As we became aware of the problems that this caused, we changed our farming practices to minimize tillage to reduce erosion as much as possible, and to use only the chemical and fertilizers that were necessary. By doing so, we reduced our input costs while improving the environment. Farmers today are very aware of their costs to produce their product, and know it is foolish to waste their inputs and watch them wash away during a storm or rain event. Farmers now put on only what they need. As we go forward, and as new technology becomes available, farmers will be utilizing even more conservation practices to control erosion and minimize runoff. We can identify problem areas and encourage the farmers to implement minimum or no till practices and where practical, encourage landowners to put land into the Conservation Reserve Program. Duane Anderson can be reached via email at email@example.com
John Cunningham's Response
Answer 1: I think the current measures the county is doing, are the best management practices at this time.
Answer 2: As of now, in my opinion, the shorelines are affected more by mother nature and her winds, than by any boating that is done. Unless someone can prove to me that the boating wakes make that much difference, I believe the constant winds do more damage.
Answer 3: I think one way we can encourage Best Management Practices (BMPs) in Kandiyohi County is by promoting no till farming practices around the lakes. We currently farm around a lake that never was on the radar for fishing but 29 years of continuous no till and pattern tilling (no intakes around the lake), it is regularly mentioned in the Outdoor News Fishing magazine for fishing. With the no till we do not have the soil run off into the lakes and with pattern tilling the rain water is filtered through the soil before entering the lake.
July 4th Boat Parade, Saturday, July 4th @ 1 pm. Line up south of the swimming beach by Community Park. Decorations are encouraged by not a requirement. Boats will proceed in a clockwise direction, less than an hour round trip. Participants are asked to continue until the end. Fun for the whole family. This year being the organizer’s 5th fourth, and as an extra incentive to participate she will be giving away can koosies decorated with American flags, all the while maintaining social distancing, natch. THIS IS NOT AN ASSOCIATION SPONSORED EVENT. Any questions please contact Brenda Negen, 320 295-6060.
The Lloyd B. Hovey Memorial Golf Tournament for the benefit of the Atwater Help for seniors will be held Saturday, July 18 at Island Pine Golf Course in Atwater. Proceeds go to provide assistance to older adults in the Atwater area.. Due to COVID-19 we will use tee times, 4-person scramble. $60/person or $240/foursome includes 18 holes, cart, gift bag and box lunch. To sign up call Josh at Island Pine Golf Club: 320 974-8600.
Please note: NO FISHING OFF LANDING DOCKS! This is inconsiderate of people trying to launch or remove their boats. It also creates a hazard to both boaters and those fishing. Make sure your kids know about this.
While we are at it, please keep grass clippings out of the lake. 1 pound of clippings translates to 20 pounds of algae, according to Harlan Meints. One idea: aim your first 2 pass discharges away from the lake.
Atwater Area Help for Seniors offers assistance to people over age 65 in the 56209 area. Volunteers are available to help with outdoor tasks, provide rides to appointments, pick up and deliver groceries or medications, deliver noon or frozen means (through Lutheran Social Services’ dining program). New volunteers and clients are always welcome! Call the office at 320-974-8737 for more information.
Mailing List. We try to keep it up to date, but due to a change in how the list is compiled it will save us a lot of time if you tell us when you move away and to whom you sold the property. If anyone asks because s/he has not received the News please let us know. As the expression goes, mailing lists happen. Thanks. (firstname.lastname@example.org).