Lake Improvement Report by Al Johnson
Another summer has gone by the wayside, but not without some major environmental issues coming to the forefront, including a fish kill in the spring and the formation of floating bogs as a result of very high water in July. Each of these concerns will require our ongoing attention and one thing we learned from both of these events is that we need to be prepared to handle these problems. When I say “we” I don’t necessarily mean the PLA, but the entire lake community.
The spring fish kill was a surprise to all of us and the clean-up was lengthy and unpleasant. We did have some residents that offered to help their neighbors cleanup their shorelines, but then those helpful volunteers had to pay dumping fees to get rid of the fish. In anticipation of possible future kills, we need to look for a place to dump the fish and/or approach the county to see if they can waive the dumping fees for the fish.
In July, after record high rainfalls, numerous bogs (some very large in size) floated across the lake and several ended up running into docks or landing on residential shore lines. Management of these bogs is another concern we must address. We will investigate whether the DNR can issue a permit to the PLA to deal with the bogs, but even with a permit we would still need people to take care of the bogs per the DNR permit. The DNR permit requires that bogs be moved to designated areas of the lake and then staked down with 2” X 2” stakes (hopefully the PLA could pay for the stakes). I moved a 20’ by 40’ bog from my dock, with a permit, and staked it to the south end by County Road 7. I doubt that it will stay there for years, but it is better than letting it go down the river. The bogs are advantageous to the lake environment–just ask the fishermen and women who fish under them! The bottoms of bogs are teaming with macrophytes that are food for smaller fish and in turn these nourished small fish become food for the bigger fish. Additionally, the water temperature under the bogs is cooler, which is attractive to fish. In fact, there is a company that sells floating islands for just this purpose. The bogs are also beneficial to the lake environment as a whole because they take phosphorus from the lake and bind it up in the plants on the bog.
As a result of these two recent lake issues, I had a PLA member approach me about the need for volunteers who can help fellow lake residents who do not have the physical ability to deal with various lakeshore problems. If we could form a group of volunteers willing to help fellow lake members, it would be a great service to our neighbors. If you are willing to volunteer, please send an email to me at firstname.lastname@example.org and let me know whether you would be willing to help with the bogs, fish kill or both. I will publish this list to the membership.
One final concern that has arisen this summer is the proposal for a marina on the lake. As a result of this proposal, PLA members have been working with the township on a dock ordinance, as we don’t want our lake to turn into another Lake Minnetonka. We are pushing for a limit on the number of water craft per property owner, regardless of the property designation; whether high density (commercial), an out-lot, a controlled access lot, or a residential lot. We would like to see a limit of 5 to 6 watercraft (boat, pontoon, personal watercraft, etc..) that can be berthed long-term on a dock per property owner and a maximum of ten watercraft for a short term (week). Another part of the ordinance will most likely result in a length limit on docks (75’ or a depth of 3 feet whichever is greater). Even in the absence of this type of ordinance, there are currently no long docks on the lake, so I don’t see the dock length as a major issue since who is going to put in more dock than they really need? We will continue to work on these issues and keep you informed.