Spring Newsletter

Upper Hay Lake Association
P.O. Box 769
Pequot Lakes, Minnesota 56472

Spring Newsletter                                              April 2016

1. Greetings From Your President
It is with great excitement that I look forward to enjoying Upper Hay Lake this spring. Spring is my favorite time of the year. The birds are busy singing from the skies and the loons are always anxious to let us know that they are back. Last weekend, I was lucky enough to see a loon swim gracefully near the shoreline. We had an early ice out this year. Now the UHLA Board will be meeting in preparation for the new season.

Jake Frie, water protection specialist with Crow Wing County, recently notified me that we have been granted a total of 400 hours of DNR trained boat landing inspectors for 2016 at our public landing again. They will begin inspecting on the fishing opener and continue through Labor Day. If you have ideas regarding times that you feel are essential for inspection at the landing, be sure to notify one of the board members. Regretfully, Diane Bachman who was our main inspector will not participate this year. She is staying home this summer to “hopefully accomplish many important and overdue projects”.

Shoreline restoration will continue to be a priority with the UHLA Board in 2016. Buffer zones can help prevent shoreline erosion by absorbing wave action and provide habitat for a wide variety of wildlife and native plants. WAPOA will be conducting their shoreline restoration contest in the beginning of June. Upper Hay Lake residents are eligible to apply through WAPOA; however, you must submit a professionally designed plan before June 1. The information Open House about shoreline restoration will be at Moonlite Bay on Wednesday June 1 from 5:00 to 7:30 PM. Preregistered contestants will present their Shoreline Restoration proposals before judges on Wednesday June 15 from 5:00 to 8:00 PM. Please be sure to contact me or a board member if you are interested in shoreline restoration.

On Saturday May 21, we will be having our annual UHLA meeting at the Jenkins VFW. I am looking forward to hearing the speakers who have offered to share valuable information with us. Sheila Carleton, Conservation Outreach Specialist with Crow Wing Soil and Water Conservation District, and Ron Meyer with Pine River Watershed, will present information on WRAPS. Pancakes are at 8:00 AM and the annual meeting will begin promptly at 9:00 AM. We hope to see you there!

In closing, there are many opportunities for members to be involved in improving Upper Hay Lake. Last winter I asked you to include Upper Hay Lake in your New Year’s Resolution. Are you ready to follow through on your resolution to improve our lake? I know I am!

Claire Steen, President

2. Ice Out
This had to be one of the shortest “ice-in” periods in years. We left UHL on December 15 and there was still open water. I don’t know the exact “final freeze-up” date but it was relatively soon after that. We got a note from Ken Meyer stating the ice was out March 29. That’s pretty unusual. Good news is that we can get the docks in, clean up the beach and get ready for fishing opener and “fun in the sun” on Upper Hay.

3. Enbridge Sandpiper/Line 3 Construction
We have been talking about this project for some time now and promised to keep you informed. The project known as “Line 3” is to replace a long section of existing pipeline. The replacement pipeline will follow the existing route from Neche, North Dakota to Clearbrook, Minnesota. Then a new line will divert south and follow the “Sandpiper Project’s” preferred route from Clearbrook to Superior, Wisconsin. The problem is that this new section ran right through a very environmentally sensitive portion of Minnesota just north of our chain of lakes. IF a rupture occurred in this sensitive area, raw crude would enter our lakes system. There is an alternative route that runs south of this area but would be more expensive for Enbridge. Their project was initially approved and did not require an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) to be done. Several groups including the Friends of the Headwaters, WAPOA and others appealed to the Court of Appeals to require an EIS. On September 15, 2015 the Court of Appeals ruled that a comprehensive Environmental Impact Statement is necessary before proceeding with the pipeline construction. This ruling was appealed to the Minnesota Supreme Court but the court denied the Enbridge/Public Utilities Commission petitions for further review thus upholding the lower court’s ruling. The study will take time as the first step is to find a company to actually conduct the study. As it stands, the project would probably not begin until about 2019. For detailed information you can go to Enbridge’s website and read their description of the project. Go to http://www.enbridge.com/projects-and-infrastructure/projects/line-3-replacement-program-us for details. Bear in mind that the article explains it from THEIR point of view. You can also go to http://www.thedickinsonpress.com/energy/oil/3949380-enbridge-says-sandpiper-line-3-replacement-delayed-2019 and read an article from the Dickenson, ND newspaper on the subject.

4. Watershed Restoration and Protection Strategies (WRAPS)
The Clean Water Act (1972) requires that each State develop a plan to identify and restore any water body that is deemed impaired by state regulations. A Total Maximum Daily Load Study (TMDL) is required by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as a result of the federal Clean Water Act. A TMDL identifies the pollutant that is causing the impairment and how much of that pollutant can enter the water body and still meet water quality standards. Minnesota’s agency charged with this task is the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA). The MPCA is actively implementing a “watershed approach” for the restoration and protection of Minnesota’s waters. This approach incorporates monitoring and assessing Minnesota’s waters on a 10-year cycle and integrates MPCA water resource management efforts in cooperation with state and local governments and stakeholders. This approach has four main steps:

Step 1. Monitor and gather data and information.
Step 2. Assess the data.
Step 3. Establish WRAPS.
Step 4. Implement water quality activities.

The Pine River Watershed, of which Upper Hay is a part, is in Step 3. The Pine River Watershed Alliance (PRWA) is part of the technical team finalizing the WRAP for our watershed. A total of 29 water bodies have been identified for restoration or protection. There are 5 lakes that require restoration: Lowes, Mitten, Kego,  Emily and Jail. There are 5 creeks or rivers identified for protection: Bungo Creek, Arvig Creek, Willow Creek, Wilson Creek and the South Fork of the Pine River. There are 19 lakes identified for protection of which Upper Hay is one. PRWA is working with the MPCA and the Crow Wing Soil and Water District to establish protection plans. The plan is to meet with lake associations, like Upper Hay, describe the process and present lake specific data and recommendations for these associations. A plan will then be generated for the specific lake. The plan is to set up a meeting with Upper Hay this spring, if possible at your Annual meeting.

5. Crow Wing County Approves 2016 Aquatic Invasive Species Plan
The Crow Wing County Board has approved the 2016 Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) Plan for the treatment and prevention of invasive species in county waters. The 2015 AIS plan was developed with the input of area lake associations and concerned citizens in the fall of 2015. Building upon the 2015 AIS plan, the 2016 plan focuses on the top priorities identified by these groups including; boat landing inspections, watercraft decontamination, Eurasian water milfoil treatment, education/awareness and innovative special projects. Funding for local AIS prevention efforts was allocated by the state legislature in 2014 as part of program aid given to Minnesota counties. Last year we had an inspector at our public landing for most weekends during the summer. We will again be able to have an inspector this summer. We have requested the same lady we had last year. This program is very helpful in that it constantly reminds boaters of the procedures required to minimize the spread of invasive species. If you go by the landing and see the inspector, thank him/her for the help in protecting Upper Hay.

6. An AIS Reminder to All Boaters
By: Phil Hunsicker the spring 2016 LARA newsletter

Ice-out is just around the corner, so before you drop your boat into the warming waters, don’t forget about aquatic invasive species (AIS) and the things we all need to do to stop the spread. If we can all follow these simple rules and change a few of our behaviors, we can keep AIS from spreading. It’s entirely up to us!

Required Actions to Prevent the Spread of AIS:

  1. Clean all visible aquatic plants, zebra mussels, and other prohibited invasive species from watercraft, trailers, and water-related equipment before leaving any water access or shoreland.
  2. Drain water-related equipment (boat, ballast tanks, portable bait containers, motor, etc.) and drain bilge, livewell and baitwell by removing drain plugs before leaving a water access or shoreline property. Keep drain plugs out and water draining devices open while transporting watercraft.
  3. Dispose of unwanted bait, including minnows, leeches, and worms in the trash. It is illegal to release bait into a waterbody or release aquatic animals from one waterbody to another. If you want to keep your bait, you must refill the bait container with bottled or tap water.

Additionally, if you buy or sell a dock, a boat lift, or a swim raft, and that piece of equipment is going from one waterbody into another, the law says water-related equipment like that must stay out of the water for at least 21 days.

7. SWCD Sells Native Seed Mixes
Crow Wing Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) is selling native seed mixes for $20 & $35 per package.

“This is a great opportunity for you to lessen your lawn and create a home for the bees, butterflies, and birds. These mixes also like area sandy soils.” said Beth Hippert, SWCD District Technician.

Fall Dormant Seeding; After first frost of the year:

  1. Provide good seed to soil contact,
  2. Rake surface of seed bed prior to seeding,
  3. Mix seed into bucket of moist (not wet) native soil or clean sand (10 parts sand to 1 part seed),
  4. Spread seed by hand or with seeder,
  5. Install erosion control blanket on slopes over 30% (use natural fibers, no net).

For a limited time the SWCD is selling Septic Mound Mix/Bank Stabilization (15 species, 1500 sq ft) Wet Wild Meadow (20-30 species- 500 sq ft) and Lawn Alternative Seed (5 species, 500 sq ft) mixes.

Seeds can be purchased at the Crow Wing SWCD office at 322 Laurel St. Suite 13.Each packet covers 500 or 1500 square feet. Native plants are drought tolerant and grow in part to full sun. Packets include perennial flowering plants, grasses, and a cover crop. Plants generally become fully established in 2-3 years.

Also available are Meadow Blazing Star & Black-Eyed Susan Seed Mix, or Wild Lupine & Yellow Coneflower Seed Mix, for $20 per package. This will cover 200 square feet.

The mixes contain seeds that were harvested and packed within 100 miles of Brainerd by Minnesota Native Landscapes, Inc. of Otsego, MN.

For more info: Crow Wing SWCD office at 322 Laurel St. Suite 13, Brainerd. Phone: 218-828-6197.

8. Annual Membership Meeting May 21
As stated in our By-laws, the annual membership meeting will be held on the Saturday before Memorial Day weekend, thus Saturday May 21 at the Jenkins VFW. As always we will start our complimentary pancake breakfast at 8:00 a.m. and the meeting will begin at 9:00. Please plan to attend. Three board members are, as always, up for reelection. This year Whitey Larson, Nick Nickodym and Mickey Perwien 3-year terms are expired. We seem to be growing shorter and shorter on folks willing to give of their time for the Association. I am convinced that a lack of concern for Upper Hay’s future in NOT a factor. I’m guessing that folks are a little unsure as to what participation requires. Is some “institutional knowledge” needed? Should I have spent a certain number of years on the lake? NO. All that is needed is a concern for the future of the lake. We hold 4 o 5 meetings a year at the most. The President tries to schedule those meeting around the Board member’s schedules so all (or at least most) members can attend. That’s it. Please consider getting involved as we desperately need more people. Thanks in advance.

Bruce Ohland, Board Member

9. Aquatic Vegetation Permits
The aquatic vegetation/swimmer’s itch permit applications have been completed and submitted to the DNR for approval. This year we had a total of 19 applications; 16 to be self-applied and 3 to be applied by PLM. Thirteen were for vegetation and swimmer’s itch, one for vegetation only, and five for swimmer’s itch only. We should have our permits from the DNR by our annual meeting or soon thereafter. As many of you probably are aware the DNR only issues us two permits; one is for those who self-apply and one for those using PLM. Because of this, everyone’s permit is the same with the vegetation control being 40 feet along shore by 100 feet lakeward and 100 feet by 100 feet for swimmer’s itch. These are maximum dimensions allowed and you do not have to cover that total area. You will be notified when we have the signed permit.

10. Treasurer’s Report
In the Winter Newsletter I listed the total bank balance for the association as $32,545.90 on December 31, 2015, with some shoreline grant money yet to be paid. I hope that the Board of Directors will have this grant process nearer completion by the time of our annual meeting and I will have a complete report at that time. I also stated that we had 98 paid members (family units) for last year. I am pleased to report that we already have 65 paid members for 2016 at the time of this writing. I hope we can exceed last year’s numbers by Memorial Day. We always have a few stragglers and some of our ‘snowbirds’ haven’t returned home yet! Please send in your annual dues of $25 and any extra donation soon. Thank you!

Ken Meyer, Treasurer

11. Pontoon Party
Remember how much fun our pontoon parties were? How about having some this summer on the first Wednesdays of the month. So when the sirens go off pontoon party time that evening. Bring your family, neighbors (that don’t have a pontoon), your visitors, drinks, and snacks to share. We’ll meet in the middle of the lake, tie up together and party. This would be a great way to meet other lake shore neighbors.

See you on the lake.

Sharon Leutem

Environmental Stewardship Today, for Tomorrow