2013 PRESIDENT’S LETTER TO MEMBERSHIP
Many thanks to the Lake Volney Association membership and friends – we have had a busy year and 2013 is shaping up to be a pivotal year in lake restoration. Your annual dues and your in-kind work have been instrumental in getting us to this point.
As a Board, we get many questions and comments regarding the progress to restore our lake. The most common question is why the progress is so slow and why every year seems to bring a different set of challenges for the lake. 2012 was certainly a more disappointing year for all of us than previous years. The warmer winter with less snow allowed weeds to grow even during the winter months, and compounded by an extremely early and hot summer (ice off was March 9, 2012), we ended up with more weeds and algae blooms than we have experienced in the past couple of years. Some homeowners employed Cory Culbert, of Lakescapes LLC in Waterville to spray weeds on their beachfront, which was met with some success. There is a nominal fee for this service and is open to all homeowners, but applications must be submitted early (mid winter) to allow Cory to secure the proper DNR permits and begin in-lake applications in mid-May. (For more information, please go to: www.Lakescapresmn.com , or email firstname.lastname@example.org ) . Please note this application is a temporary solution to control weed growth on your immediate beachfront.
As you may remember, two years ago the State of Minnesota engaged in data collection from which to put together a Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) analysis. The TMDL report is submitted to the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA), reviewed for approval and from this, action items are created so as to help improve water clarity. We received an initial copy of the report over 18 months ago, yet to date, have received no word from the MPCA that the report has been approved. Regardless, the data in the report complements the data we have gathered from other sources and indicates that our most significant problems stem from two sources: 1) runoff into the lake (agricultural, feedlot and personal property), and 2) in-lake sediment that is nutrient-loaded (caused by silt and sediment infiltration into the lake from external sources). We are not waiting for the State’s approval of the TMDL report but instead, are working with State, County and other government and non-profit agencies to seek ways to mitigate the problems we are experiencing.
Unfortunately, there is no easy solution, as we are all aware. We are respectful of all landowners and are seeking solutions that provide good options for both lakeshore owners and feedlot/agricultural owners. Many thanks to the Wolf family for their willingness to partner with the Association and the County in dredging and re-landscaping the sediment ponds on their property on the NW side of the lake. This partnership has proved extremely beneficial and is just the type of project that makes a significant positive impact on the lake. This sediment pond system dramatically reduces ag/feedlot runoff directly into the lake and has significant value in reducing nutrient loading. We are seeking other opportunities for this type of sediment pond structure (or similar project) around our lake and seek the assistance of all landowners in locating opportunities that will be beneficial.
Another project that will gradually help lake quality is the DNR purchase of land on the SW corner of the lake. This corner is not inhabited and is a great property that the DNR will assume responsibility for in the near future. We anticipate the DNR will determine a plan from which to work that will lessen runoff from this area.
With the DNR purchase of this tract of land, your Lake Association has selected the lake shore area in front of this area for an in-lake planting project. The in-lake planting committee has worked diligently over the winter to prepare for this project and was successfully awarded a grant of $12,500 from the Schmidt Foundation, a non-profit from St. Peter, MN. This money will be used to purchase native plants from a local nursery, as well as fencing that will be installed to surround the site and ensure the small plants are not consumed by carp or other rough fish. Our goal is to re-establish the native plants that once flourished in the lake, providing excellent fish habitat as well as re-introducing oxygen into the lake. Please watch for this area to be developed in June. Your assistance to monitor the area and reducing/minimizing wake in this area will be greatly appreciated. These new plants need tender care for the first couple of years. Should you see issues with this area throughout the summer, please contact any one of your board members for assistance.
As we have been talking about the last few years, it is URGENT for everyone t be extremely vigilant in monitoring for Aquatic Invasive Species. AIS such as zebra mussels and Eurasian Milfoil are still our biggest concerns on Volney. Anyone that trailer’s a boat, uses minnow buckets that have been in other lakes, puts inner tubes or flotation devices on Volney’s waters, could ALL be potential AIS carriers. Without proper eradication education, any of us and our guests could unknowingly be introducing a non-native species into Volney. There is NO KNOWN WAY to get rid of AIS. PLEASE make this your first priority when launching your boats and/or assisting your guests in launching boats or using flotation devices or any piece of equipment that touches the water. For more information, please see the DNR website: http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/index.html .
This past fall (November 2012), we took part in a second multi-lake flyover to record various aspects of the lake’s condition. The information we gathered through this flyover is currently being compared to the results of the first flyover, with the intent of producing some items that are complementary to the TMDL action items. More information will follow as we determine results.
Last fall, a new culvert was installed under the road on the southwest side of the lake. Your Association was in contact with each township and the County since the culvert and drainage area was very poorly constructed and NO runoff controls were implemented in this job site. The County took remedial efforts to shore up the damage before winter, and we continue to work with the county on a long term solution to this area. Should you notice black dirt running freely into the lake near this area, please report this immediately to one of your Board members or to the County Environmental Services office, who will assist with management of the erosion.
Thank you to everyone who assisted this spring with the annual Earth Day clean up of the lake shore property. We collected a lot of trash that as a result, will not be introduced into the lake. Thank you for your assistance and to the committee captains who led this effort.
As we (finally) begin to think about summer 2013, please remember to exercise safe boating practices and report any issues that may concern you to local authorities if necessary.
Thank you for your support for the Volney Association. Your monetary and in-kind support do not go unnoticed and all help to improve or stop degradation of the lake quality. Your Board continues to work toward further positive results and appreciates your patience and support.
Have a safe and enjoyable summer!