Report on activities of the Emergency Task Force, October 2020
By Dale Williams
After the Spring 2019 Lake Shamineau Association meeting a group of members met who expressed interest in discussing immediate actions that could be taken to address the lake’s high water. Questions were asked like: Are beaver dams restricting the lake’s outflow? Are ditches clogged? What about inflows to the lake?
Recognizing that the LSLID was working and fully engaged in a long-term permanent pumping solution, this group was interested in projects that might offer more immediate relief. The group wanted to keep the LSLID informed of its efforts but it was a separate group of motivated individuals that would have its own agenda while sharing a common goal with the LSLID: Get the Lake Shamineau water level to an acceptable, sustainable level.
It was and continues to be important that the Emergency Task Force is open to all individuals and groups seeking a solution to the high water. Diversity on the committee has led to better solutions and has resulted in more consensus which leads to better support from governing agencies.
The first project implemented was installing a siphon over a beaver dam in Cass County Lake west of Lake Lena. The LSA Board approved funds for building the siphon and ETF members did the installation. This allowed impounded water to continue on its normal pathway to Fish Trap Creek leading to the Long Prairie River. Shamineau is a part of the Long Prairie River Watershed. Like Fish Trap Lake and Lake Alexander, water from Lake Shamineau finds its way into the Long Prairie River by way of Fish Trap Creek. Fish Trap Creek flows year-round carrying water from the Lincoln Area Lakes.
Shortly thereafter the ETF addressed the large amount of water that continued to grow south of County Road 203 between Highway 10 and 30th Ave., just east of the Friendly Inn. There was an established ditch through this wetland which could be cleaned. Members of the ETF obtained permission from the affected landowners which led to granting permission to have the ditch cleaned. The LSA Board helped make this happen by paying for culverts in some of the affected properties. Scandia Valley Township was instrumental in moving this project forward. Again, there was widespread agreement by members of the ETF which helped influence governing agencies.
Turn off the Faucet
After the successful ditch project ETF turned attention to the watershed area east of the ditch. Could we extend ditching one mile east to 40th Ave to capture water traveling north so that rather than flow into the lake this water would move west into the ditch? ETF has been studying the area between Lake Alexander (Co. Rd. 3) and Co. Rd. 203 and much of the surface water from the three sections of land bounded by Hwy 10 to the west, Co. Rd. 203 to the north, Bugle Rd (Co. Rd. 2) on the east and Co. Rd 3 on the south. It was found that water flows north to Shamineau inlet through the DNR Aquatic Management Area under Co. Rd. 203 near the snowmobile trail.
Rather than have this excessive flow move into Lake Shamineau before continuing to its eventual path to the Long Prairie River, we wondered if this water might flow west before entering the inlet. We believe that much of this water used to flow south toward Lake Alexander. Because much of the area east of 30th Ave. is considered wetland with no established ditch and the Wetland Conservation Act restricts some ditching activity, we were not allowed to extend the ditch east. However, another option became available. We could create a temporary holding area and pump water from an area near the Aquatic Management Area to the ditch ending at 30th Ave. This project we tagged “Turn off the Faucet.” Morrison County has been extremely helpful in moving this project forward. Electric motors will move water to the ditch on 30th Ave and funds from LSA will help cover those operating costs.
Through this whole process the ETF is mindful of being a good neighbor. These projects happen after many meetings and discussions with private landowners. These landowners are our neighbors and we thank them for their participation, for sharing their concerns. and for considering design possibilities that could result in benefit to all parties. ETF wants to create solutions that are win-win for all parties. We think Lake Shamineau is a fantastic natural resource and a jewel for the entire community.
Our most recent project is the Ramey Pond Project. This is a test project to see how quickly the pond recharges itself after pumping. Ramey Pond is about six acres in size located on the west end of the Lake immediately across from Aztec Rd. (Co. Rd. 202) and is bounded to the north by Pine Ridge Golf Club’s 13th hole. The LSLID helped in obtaining a temporary permit from the DNR and MnDOT to do controlled pumping from Ramey Pond to the ditch along Highway 10. Water is pumped in an 8-inch pipe to the junction of Highway 10 and Aztec Rd., then flows in the ditch about a half mile south where it enters a culvert under Highway10 moving into Cass County Lake on the west side of Highway 10. This is a small project, moving a relatively small amount of water. Water that eventually gets to Fish Trap Creek will be minimal.
Much of the water pumped from Ramey Pond infiltrates into the ground before it enters the south culvert at Highway 10. Water being pumped from the pond has been filtered by the adjoining wetland and is free of aquatic invasive species. We believe that the same aquifer is under both Lake Shamineau and Ramey Pond and that the pond will see recharge from the aquifer rather quickly. The floor of the pond is sand and we think is quite water-bearing. Pumping started on September 26, 2020, so information is just coming in. So far it appears that over an eight-hour period, water is being replaced back into the pond that we have removed over a 12-hour period.
The constant financial support for these projects has come from the Lake Shamineau Association. Last winter LSA members stepped up to a challenge presented by the LSA Board to match a $5000 commitment. Not only did Association members meet the $5000 match, they tripled it! The LSA Treasurer has reported that since the start of the fund appeal, more than $15,000 has been received to fund projects like these. Thank you members and friends. The ETF intends to use these dollars wisely.
In general, there are two groups we should thank. One is the many volunteers who serve on the ETF. They have been meeting for a year now-usually every one to two weeks in meetings that last from one and a half to three hours. More recently these are zoom meetings, that are planned and productive. Bob Ingle is the chair and has been hugely committed to successes for this group. The other thank you goes to you, members of the LSA. Your financial support means a great deal. We know we have you as the wind in our sails and that moves us forward.
Going forward we expect to have expenses for power for these short-term projects as well as costs for materials (pipe, culverts, excavation/installation). If you wish to support additional efforts of the ETF, send your contributions to:
Lake Shamineau Association
PO Box 152
Motley, MN 56466