FLPOA Looks Ahead to 2017 – Posted January 1, 2017 – Submitted by Bob Stancer
We accomplished so much in 2016, and we are ready to focus on the great projects and programs we have slated for 2017! Some of the plans include:
- Use all 800 hours of boat inspection hours as allocated by Crow Wing County.
- Apply for IUP for AIS signs with property owners from previous years (interchange the two Burma Shave messages)
- Continue the water testing with WAPOA and MPCA.
- Continue with the WAPOA Professional Lake Mgt. (PLM) aquatic plant inspection at each of the 4 public boat launches. (We may be able to do this with FLPOA members that have been trained as AIS Detectors by the University of Minnesota Aquatic Invasive Species Research Center.)
- Have a late spring membership drive to get all memberships paid and attract new members.
- Participate in Zebra Mussel Veliger Testing
- Follow and inform members of the Embridge line 3 pipeline proposal. (Currently planned to follow the original Sandpiper route.)
- Assist in organizing volunteers to continue the removal of Purple Loosestrife from Mitchell Lake.
- Increase awareness of DNR fisheries activity in our lakes.
- Increase awareness of Crow Wing Forestry management and timber harvesting activity.
Thanks to your donations and dues, we continue to work on all these important tasks. We are grateful to have you as members of FLPOA, and we are excited about the things we can accomplish together in 2017.
The Life of a Watercraft Inspector – Posted January 1, 2017 – Submitted by Mike Prouty
The Fifty Lake area has four public boat landings: on Mitchell, Eagle, Fox, and Kego Lakes. If you use these lakes during the boating season, you’re likely to meet a watercraft inspector on the boat ramp.
I wondered what it was like to be a watercraft inspector, and sit on a boat ramp for 10 hours a day, so I spoke with watercraft inspector Dale Hahn. I met Dale on the Eagle Lake ramp last summer. A big man, with a wrestler’s body and as deep a voice as I’ve ever heard, Dale has an impressive presence. His dog Paisley, (a Wheaton terrier/poodle mix) keeps him company on the ramp, and has learned to stay in her cage as soon as she sees a car coming. “Paisley loves spending the day with me on a ramp, and I think she misses it in the off season!” said Dale.
Dale is a retired project manager from Willmar Electric who oversaw huge electrical installations around the United States. He enjoys fishing in his retirement, but most importantly he likes taking an active approach to helping keep the lakes in Fifty Lakes area clean. “I saw a need to help people understand how they can protect the lakes we all enjoy,” said Dale. “I love being a watercraft inspector. I have a passion for my job, and I like to think I’m making a difference. I’ve been doing this since the program began and it’s very rewarding to begin to see a different attitude on the part of the public.”
Dale is a people-person. “My daughters will tell you that I love talking to people,” said Dale. “And almost all my contacts on the boat ramp are very positive. I feel especially gratified when I see fathers teaching their kids how to make sure the boat and trailer are clean, by disposing of weeds, cleaning the boat and trailer, and correctly disposing of live bait and trash. Of course there are always those few who aren’t happy, but hopefully over time they’ll come around too.”
Dale, who has both level 1 and level 2 training, sees two major challenges to stopping the spread of aquatic invasive species: boat live wells containing water from possibly infested lakes and standing water in the bottom of watercraft. “When I started, there was some push back from fisherman about not being able to enter a lake with livewell water from another lake,” said Dale. “But I think the message is slowing sinking in, that keeping water that potentially contains aquatic invasive species out of our lakes is important.” Dale goes the extra mile, and brings several five gallon buckets full of clean water. Giving a first-time angler who is not familiar with the problem an option of switching out his dirty water with clean water earns some goodwill. “I think the best long term solution to the problem of livewell water is aerated bait buckets,” said Dale. (After talking with Dale, I now own an aerated minnow bucket!) Jet skis are also a potential source of spreading invasive species. “Many jet ski owners are reluctant to start up their skis on the boat landing because they think it will harm their motors,” said Dale. But it really doesn’t and we need them to purge the water inside their jet skis.”
Inspectors like Dale Hahn are on the front line in the struggle to limit the spread of aquatic invasive species. The Fifty Lakes Property Owners Association, working with Crow Wing County and the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, supports the Watercraft Inspector program. The program will continue on the four public boat landings again next year.
Water Clarity – Posted January 1, 2017 – Submitted by Ken Neihart
How did the 2016 secchi disk readings compare to the reading from years gone by? Take a look at the table to see where your lake falls. Many volunteers collected the secchi disk readings from the lakes over the past 30 or so years. The volunteers are part of the Whitefish Property Owners Associations (WAPOA) Water Quality Program and/or the MPCA Citizen’s Monitoring Program. If anyone is interested in helping with the water testing, please contact a FLPOA Board member.
Note: The Whiskey Jack is an original short story written for the novelty and pleasure of the Fifty Lakes Property Association Members and others. We invite any and all of our neighbors and citizens to feel free to explore simple thoughts and personal experiences and share with everyone. Our common links to a common time and place give us all a reason to celebrate. This small addendum is a reoccurring space to share any memory or story relating to Minnesota and our great North Country. Please share your thoughts and stories by clicking here.
The bed sat about 18 inches from the inside wall of the old cabin. He always made his bed and he needed the space to walk…. except this morning.
There was one bedroom in the log cabin. The rest of the cabin was open. On the far side, arranged furniture defined the living room with two windows forming the corner. A visitor could see the lake 50 feet away from the east most facing of these two windows. The window above the kitchen table did open but differently from some of the others. That window was hinged on top and a stick was used to hold it open about 10 inches. The old man could keep it open in the rain. He liked that. The table was covered with a red and white checkered vinyl like cloth so a good housekeeper could easily wipe crumbs clean. The old man loved Limburger Cheese (no doubt from the German side of the family) on toast with coffee in the morning….. only not this morning. The smaller windows above the kitchen counter opened like the larger kitchen window – hinged on top. The hand pump on the counter had to be primed so a pitcher of water always rested at the end of the counter. A red 55 gallon fuel oil drum outside had a gravity feed line to the heater which was centered along the inside of the north wall. A six foot wire hung in an arc but mostly parallel to the heater four feet below.
The old man in the bed didn’t take up much space and there would have been room next to him in that quilt covered double if need be. The old mattress would show an indentation if he stood up. His dog had a similar but smaller indentation in its rug lined bed on the bedroom floor. The old man thought of Skippy a lot over the last 50 some years. But, of course, Skippy and Skippy’s bed had been gone for a very long time.
Anyway, he wasn’t thinking of Skipper right now. He was thinking about something on his bedroom window sill. “What is that,?” he thought. He didn’t even have to lift his head off the pillow as he answered himself without moving his lips, “Oh, its you.”
The double hung window was open. The lead counter weights inside the window frame itself had long ago broken away from the cordage but the window still would stay open by itself. The window screen kept the bird from flying right into the bedroom. “That’s too bad,” the old man thought.
Except for a familiar feeling that some call loneliness , he had no pain. The lake breeze blew in across his covered body. “The feeling one gets from a lake breeze,” the old man would say to any that listened, “is like no other breeze in the world…. especially if it carries the cry of a Loon.”
The Whiskey Jack had been on that window sill before. The old man had seen him many times over a lifetime. His lifetime. “My lifetime,” he thought. Different today somehow. ….”Whiskey Jack”…”what a neat name for a bird,” he thought. He had heard somewhere that the Cree Indians thought the bird to be a “benign spirit.” A “fun-loving” and “Cheerful bird” maybe even given to “magic.” The Cree called this little guy “Wihsakecahkw.” This old man would have shaken his head on another day if he felt better because he knew so little about the Indian that lived along his lake shore long before the old cabin stood. Of course, too, he would have shaken his head about knowing so little about his Swedish Great Grandmother from Sweden lifetimes ago. As a young women, he knew she came to Minnesota on a Steamer working in housekeeping to pay her way. He did know that most Finlanders spoke the Swedish language. At least he thought he knew that but it never made much sense to him as to why that would be.
The old man would have shaken his head many times before today. “It is such a shame that so much history was never written,” he would say. “So much history only pasted from person to person”. “One broken link in every chain ended every story.” With opened eyes, the old man changed the subject and looked hard at the Whiskey Jack.
“How are you today, little guy?” the old man moved his lips for the question with a small voice only the Whiskey Jack heard. “I have never heard a bird speak,” he thought, “but that has never stopped me from talking to one.” As a small boy, the old mans’ mother took him to the doctor and asked why her young son didn’t talk. The doctor told her that her son, “would speak when he is ready.” The old man smiled as he laid quietly under the beige and red quilt remembering that story from his mother. The doctor was right, the old man had talked plenty over the years. “That was a long time ago” he remembered. “Maybe that is the way it is with the Whiskey Jack”, he thought. “ I would like to ask the doctor about the Whiskey Jack and not speaking,” he thought again. But, no one had seen the doctor for a very long time. The old man shook is head one time slightly, but an observer would have noticed.
The old man hoped that if he had company right now …maybe that Cree Indian that lost the old flint spear head his neighbor just found in a pile of dirt or maybe his Great Grandmother who could speak of family in another time and place . If they did drop by, he hoped they would wait for him to answer the door before moving on. “Yes,” he would answer the door if he heard a knock. “Please let me know if you see someone coming up the lane,” he whispered to the Whiskey Jack. It would give him more time to get ready, he thought.
“Where did everyone go?”, asked the old man to his friend on the sill. To the old man it seemed like just a minute ago the cabin was full of people…….or maybe it was more than a minute. “I don’t know,” said the Whiskey Jack. The old man knew the Whiskey Jack “really did know” where everyone went but for some reason refused to say. The old man laid still and wondered why the Whiskey Jack didn’t tell him the truth.
Some time went by in the cabin on this mild summer day but, still the Whiskey Jack sat there on the window ledge. “Its getting dark, what are you still doing here?” mumbled the old man but he wasn’t sure he was heard. “You told me to keep an eye on your lane”, “Oh, ……so I did,” he said, …”how long will you keep watch?”
“Not long now, ” said the Whiskey Jack, “there is someone walking up your lane now.”
The old man closed his eyes was suddenly too busy to thank the Whiskey Jack or even smile. He had to get ready and answer the door.
Somewhere in the north woods of Minnesota on a mild summer day, an old man readied himself without a stir. A Grey Jay -also known as a Whiskey Jack- flew from the window sill of an old log cabin located about 50 feet from the most beautiful lake you ever saw. In the breeze floated the distant cry of a common Loon. An old man used to live there.
Wisakedjak (Wìsakedjàk in Algonquin, Wīhsakecāhkw in Cree and Wiisagejaak in Oji-cree) is the Crane Manitou found in northern Algonquian and Dene storytelling, similar to the trickster god Nanabozho in Ojibwa aadizookaanan (sacred stories) and Inktonme in Assiniboine myth. He is generally portrayed as being responsible for a great flood which destroyed the world originally made by the Creator, as well as the one who created the current world with magic, either on his own or with powers given to him by the Creator for that specific purpose. His name is subject to many variant forms, including Weesack-kachack, Wisagatcak, Wis-kay-tchach, Wissaketchak, Woesack-ootchacht, Vasaagihdzak, Weesageechak, and undoubtedly others. The Cree people believe the wīhsakecāhkw is a benign spirit, fun-loving and cheerful. The bird is seen in Cree stories as an example of good manners and good company. It was sometimes Anglicized as whiskey jack, which became an alternate name for the gray jay.
On August 31st, Jeanne Mevissen alerted the FLPOA to a possible sighting of Purple Loosestrife on Mitchell Lake. The sighting was confirmed, and in September, several Mitchell Lake property owners gathered together to begin removal of the seeds, flowers and plants. Thanks to Jeanne and the Mitchell Lake property owners for taking action, and to Ken Neihart for his speedy work to confirm the Purple Loosestrife.
Purple Loosestrife invades marshes and lakeshores, replacing cattails and other wetland plants. The plant can form dense, impenetrable stands, which are unsuitable as cover, food, or nesting sites for a wide range of native wetland animals including ducks, geese, rails, bitterns, muskrats, frogs, toads, and turtles. Many rare and endangered wetland plants and animals are also at risk. Click here to learn more about Purple Loosestrife, and click here to view a short training module on how to identify Purple Loosestrife.
Stories From the North Woods – Posted October 31, 2016
We all have a favorite story about a treasured time spent at the cabin or on the lake. And, as the cooler, darker days of Autumn arrive, it seems the perfect time to write about these memories. If you would like share a short story or poem about your experiences, we would like to hear from you! Please email your story or poem to firstname.lastname@example.org. We’ll post it on the web site, and send it out in the next FLPOA email update.
Cross Lake Zebra Mussels – Posted October 31, 2016
Below are a couple photos, submitted by Bob Stancer, of the log landing lifts taken out of Cross Lake around October 20th. Note the large number of zebra mussels.
View the FLPOA Board Meeting Minutes by clicking on the link below.
FLPOA Board Meeting – Posted October 5, 2016
Please join us for an FLPOA Board Meeting on Saturday, October 8th, at 8:30am. The meeting will be held in the Fifty Lakes Community Center located at the Fire Station. Please see the agenda below, and everyone is welcome!
FLPOA ALERT No Wake Request – Posted on July 15, 2016
Sheriff Todd Dahl is asking for the public’s help and cooperation when venturing out on our area lakes.
Due to the recent heavy rain, our lakes and rivers are again at very high levels. Reports of docks under water and shore erosion have been reported to the sheriff’s office. Extensive wave action in these areas can cause a great deal of damage.
Please use caution when boating and be mindful of the boat waves washing into shore. A special request to Wake Boats to operate far from shores when pulling wake boarders. We also ask that you share this information with your family, visitors, friends and neighbors to help protect our shorelines from erosion.
Thanks for your continued care of the lakes and land that we love!
FLPOA Meeting Minutes – Posted on July 12, 2016
Please click on the link below to view the June 25, 2016 FLPOA Meeting Minutes. FLPOA Meeting Minutes June 25, 2016
Renew Your Dues – Posted on June 29, 2016
If you have not yet paid your 2016 membership dues of $20 please do so. (As of June 25, 2016, we only had 36 paid members.) We need your financial support to continue water quality testing, public launch boat inspections, lake plant surveys, invasive plant screening, zebra mussel veliger testing, and other programs. We also have recurring expenses such as insurance, memberships, and contributions to other groups such as Crow Wing County Lakes and Rivers Advocates, Friends of the Head Waters, White Fish Property Owners WAPOA, Lakes and Rivers Alliance, Conservation Minnesota, and web site hosting. (If you pay using PayPal please consider paying $21 to cover the PayPal transaction cost of $.80.)
FLPOA Annual Meeting – Posted June 29, 2016
The annual meeting will be held on Saturday, August 20, 2016, at the Foundation Building, and everyone is welcome. We will gather at 8:30am for coffee and treats and will start the board meeting at 9:00am. We plan to have a guest speaker between 10:00am and 10:30am with meeting adjourned by 11:30am. Please mark your calendar and try to attend this meeting. Last year our paid membership was at 175, and we had about 20 people at the meeting. Additionally, the current board consists of 7 members, of which 5 members have terms that expire in 2016. The president has a term limit of 2 years. (See current board member list here.) Please consider becoming a board member.
We look forward to seeing you all in August, and thanks for your continued support!
FLPOA Meeting Minutes – Posted June 29, 2016 Click here to view the May 14, 2016 Meeting Minutes
Enbridge Pipeline Update – Posted December 21, 2015
Enbridge required to provide Environmental Impact Statement for Sandpiper Pipeline
The Minnesota Supreme Court has denied the Enbridge/PUC petitions for further review of the September Court of Appeals decision. This means that the Supreme Court refused to hear the case.
The unanimous September 15th, Court of Appeals ruling in favor of FOH/MCEA contentions will stand: A comprehensive Environmental Impact Statement is necessary before proceeding with the pipeline approval process. This means that the plans for the Sandpiper pipeline cannot move forward until the Environmental Impact Statement is completed.
Click here to view the meeting minutes.
Friends of the Headwaters – Posted September 21, 2015
Creating some “northern Light” on the Enbridge pipeline proposals By Melodee Monicken, for Friends of the Headwaters
What’s happening with Friends of the Headwaters? Well, as most of you know, Friends of the Headwaters is a small, northern MN environmental group, a scrappy David taking on the daunting Canadian Goliath, Enbridge. So last winter Friends of the Headwaters (FOH) and the MN Center for Environmental Advocacy (MCEA) initiated an appeal regarding the necessity for an Environmental Impact Statement (an EIS) on the Enbridge Sandpiper. Yesterday, the MN Court of Appeals ruled that the PUC must provide an EIS before granting a Certificate of Need to Enbridge.
In Monday’s unanimous decision, the Court concluded that “MEPA requires an environmental impact statement to be completed before a final decision is made to grant or deny a certificate of need.” As the Minneapolis Star Tribune pointed out: “The Friends of the Headwaters argued that conducting certificate of need proceedings before completing an environmental impact statement violated the Minnesota Environmental Policy Act. The appeals court agreed.”
This is a big deal with important ramifications for MN law. And it’s a victory for FOH and the MCEA. But nothing is “over.” Friends of the Headwaters anticipates a strong response from Enbridge and their powerful allies. We will need your continued support going forward.
What can I do to help Friends of the Headwaters? This victory for Friends of the Headwaters/MCEA in the Court of Appeals will feel even better if our work on this case results in the comprehensive Environmental Impact Statement FOH has been requesting for the last two years. Like you, Friends of the Headwaters believes that, if oil pipelines are needed, they should be located away from Minnesota’s most pristine water resources. We will all need to be vigilant about not settling for an “environmental review” that fails to provide qualitative analysis and risk assessment.
You can also help us by sharing our updates, visiting our website, sharing our posts on social media, liking our Facebook page, attending our fundraisers, and donating money for FOH legal expenses.
Address: Friends of the Headwaters, P.O. Box 583, Park Rapids, MN 56470
We hope you will write to the governor, legislators, and newspapers announcing your emphatic support for the Court of Appeals’ decision. (Addresses included below.)
And you can weigh in with your citizen objections to the proposed Enbridge route by September 30. (This schedule might change. Because of the Court of Appeals’ ruling in favor of FOH, the schedule is unsettled. I’ll keep you posted.) Following are the addresses for the Governor, the Agency Commissioners, and the PUC:
Governor Mark Dayton, Office of the Governor & Lt Governor, 116 Veterans Service Building 20 W 12th Street, St. Paul, MN 55155 Email: Send your questions and comments to Governor Dayton and Lt. Governor Smith http://mn.gov/governor/contact-us/form/ Telephone: 651-201-3400 Toll Free: 800-657-3717
John Stine, Commissioner, MPCA • MPCA 520 Lafayette Road N St. Paul, MN 55155-4194 651-296-6300, 800-657-3864, TTY: 651-282-5332 Phone: 651-757-2014 Fax: 651-296-6334
Thomas J Landwehr, Commissioner, DNR • Department of Natural Resources – 500 Lafayette Road St. Paul, MN 55155-4040 (651) 296-6157 (888) 646-6367 email@example.com
If I donate money to Friends of the Headwaters, where does it go? If you donate money to Friends of the Headwaters, we can assure you that your support is funding legal strategies to protect Minnesota’s water resources. We have no paid staff, and we don’t tap donor support to participate in far-flung marches or energy seminars. Everything you donate to Friends of the Headwaters is used to finance legal and procedural initiatives around the Enbridge pipeline proposals.
Make Donations Here: http://www.friendsoftheheadwaters.org/donate.html
What’s next? FOH president Richard Smith’s reaction to Monday’s ruling: “During the last two years, Friends of the Headwaters made the environmental argument, the science argument, the legal argument, and the economic argument. The PUC overlooked the merits of our case. So we are grateful that the Court heard us.”
Indeed, we are grateful to have been heard. But we also know that the Court of Appeals ruling opens up many complex procedural and legal opportunities. We’re just everyday people who believe that MN lake country and the Mississippi Headwaters deserve protection for future generations so we’ll be researching experts, talking to other opposition groups, creating maps and graphics, raising funds, gathering data to buttress our arguments, and consulting with legal/procedural strategists.
Thank you for your energy, time, talent, resources, and continued support.
A Win for the Environment – Posted September 17, 2015
The Sandpiper Certificate of Need has been invalidated by the Minnesota Court of Appeals
Last June, the Public Utilities Commission granted a Certificate of Need (CON) to Enbridge Energy. However, environmental organization, Friends of the Headwaters, appealed the Enbridge Sandpiper Pipeline CON to the Minnesota Court of Appeals, requesting an Environmental Impact Statement be completed before approving the Sandpiper CON.
On September 14th, The Minnesota Court of Appeals decision was to “reverse and remand for respondent Minnesota Public Utilities Commission to reconsider whether to issue a certificate of need after an environmental impact statement has been completed”. In other words, the court found the Public Utilities Commission “erred” in giving the certificate to Enbridge due to the lack of a full Environmental Impact Statement. The official appeals court ruling can be read here.
This is a giant step toward the continued protection of the land and the lakes that we love!
For more information see the following links:
Star Tribune Stories
Friends of the Headwaters
WAPOA to Host Pipeline Information Meeting on August 5th
You likely have heard of the Sandpiper Pipeline. Have you heard about Line 3, Line 67 and other proposed pipelines? Join Whitefish Area Property Owners Association (WAPOA) members and Friends of the Headwaters President, Richard Smith, at the Fifty Lakes Foundation Building on Wednesday, August 5th at 2:00pm to learn more.
Annual FLPOA Board Meeting Scheduled for August 8th
The Annual Fifty Lakes Property Owners Association (FLPOA) meeting is scheduled for Saturday, August 8, 2015, at 8:30am. The meeting will be held at the Fifty Lakes Foundation Building, and Jeff Forester, Chairman of Minnesota Lakes & Rivers Alliance, is speaking. Everyone is welcome!
WAPOA Lakes Vegetation Assessment
An aquatic vegetation survey was conducted on Whitefish Lake and its respective bays including six off chain access sites on Monday July 6th 2015. In total, 29 access sites were surveyed utilizing visual observations and the use of a double edged rake when water clarity was inadequate. Each area was surveyed with a 100 x 100 area. Surveyors recorded all aquatic plants found in the stated area. A document with all field notes is also attached to this report. This report is designed to give a general overview of all areas that were surveyed and which aquatic species were found at each location. This survey did not result in the finding of any new Aquatic Invasive Species.
Mitchell Lake CLP Report
Curly Leaf Pondweed (CLP) was reported in Mitchell Lake in July, 2014. Attached, please find an Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) report for Mitchell Lake provided by the Minnesota DNR.
If you have comments or questions, please let us know by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. We are always happy to hear from you!
Spring Edition of The Ripple
We hope you enjoy the spring edition of The Ripple. If you have story ideas, comments or general suggestions, please let us know by emailing email@example.com. We are always happy to hear from you!
Renew Your Dues – Online!
In an effort to make support and donations more accessible for members, FLPOA decided to make a change to the membership cycle. Memberships now run from June 1st to May 31st. This new timeline coincides much better with member availability. Any membership dues paid in 2015 will be good through May 31, 2016. FLPOA is also excited to announce that members can now renew memberships or make donations online from the FLPOA web site.
Crow Wing County Proposed AIS Plan for 2015
The mission of the Crow Wing County AIS Plan is to provide leadership in preventing the introduction and limiting the spread of Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) in Crow Wing County by coordinating inspection, decontamination, targeted treatment, and education efforts. Learn more about this effort by reviewing the Crow Wing County AIS Plan Packet of information.
Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) ALERT – Curly-Leaf Pondweed (CLP) Detected in Mitchell Lake
Please click on the links below to become familiar with CLP and to learn how to detect it. If you find evidence of CLP, contact a FLPOA Board Member by clicking here. If CLP is found early, it can be stopped. Thank you for helping to protect our lakes!
Oil Pipeline Proposed Under Daggett Creek
There is a very real threat to the environment in the Fifty Lakes Area, which requires your immediate attention, the proposed Sandpiper crude oil pipeline. Many of us, particularly those who are seasonal Fifty Lakes residents, may not even be aware of the proposed Sandpiper oil pipeline which would run under Daggett Creek, a mile or two north of Mitchell Lake. Learn More