Healthy Lakes

PCLIA Healthy Lakes — Chair Gary Anderson

The Healthy Lakes committee of PCLIA sponsored a WELCOME BACK TO THE LAKE get together at Clearwater Forest Camp on April 28, 2012. Heather Baird from the DNR was our guest speaker; she gave some excellent information on healthy shoreline maintenance.

Healthy Lakes Fall 2014

Cabin Close- Up: A time to inspect boats and water equipment for invasive species — MN DNR

Healthy Lakes Fall 2012

Here’s a rundown of activities the Healthy Lakes Group was involved in during the year:

1. Invasive Species Program

  • Curly leaf pondweed:
    In conjunction with MNDNR, areas of CLP were identified and mapped. Locations to be treated next spring will be determined at December meeting with DNR Aquatic Invasive Species Specialist Dan Swanson. Minnesota has some grant money available for treating Aquatic Invasive Species and that will be applied for when the permit to treat application is made.
  • Eurasian Milfoil, Zebra Mussels, other Aquatic Invasive Species:
    So far, we have not identified any of these in our lakes. We continue to monitor for them and rely on reports from lakeshore owners to report any suspected invasive species. We also encourage continued efforts to avoid bringing any of these unwelcome intruders into our waters by keeping our boats and trailers clean, live wells and bilges drained when taking boats out of the water, and minimizing the movement of boats, boat lifts, and docks from infested lakes to lakes not infested with invasive species.

2. Water Quality

  • Lake Water Monitoring
    Lake water samples/measurements were taken monthly from May to September by our volunteers, John Morrison, Ken Stebbins, Britt Carlson and Hans Miller. The samples are sent to RMB Environmental Laboratories for analysis and the results are available on their website: Go to the Lake monitoring database to find data for this and past years for each lake in the chain.The condensed version is that water quality is gradually declining in Portage and, to a lesser degree Hanks, while in Crooked and Sugar water quality has remained statistically unchanged during the years of sampling.

3. Shoreline Restoration/Habitat Protection

  • Portage-Crooked Lake Improvement Association Block Grant Beginning about a year ago, Darwin Olson, Healthy Lakes Co-Chair began the application process that resulted in the awarding of a $15,000 grant from the State of Minnesota to engage in “habitat work on public and private lands to improve habitat for fish, game, and wildlife and to improve public recreational opportunities.”The grant application was approved in the spring and funded by the State Legislature at the end of the session. The DNR then allocated the funds for the grant and we were ready to begin planning projects late in the summer. A group of interested lakeshore owners along with Heather Baird, the DNR contact person for the grant, took a pontoon boat tour of the lakes in September to identify likely project areas. It was decided that the highest priority site was the Portage Lake side of the peninsula dividing Portage from Hanks Lake. It is an area that in the past had a significant bulrush growth but the plants had significantly diminished over the past twenty years. Bulrushes are considered to be very desirable aquatic plants because of the habitat they provide for fish breeding and the protection from wave action they provide to adjacent shoreline. The decision was made to invest in replanting bulrush “plugs” along several hundred feet of shoreline, from approximately the Bruce Miller family dock (Portage Lake side) to near the channel going into Hanks Lake. As part of the project, erosion control measures (brush bundles) were placed along parts of the shoreline to reduce wave induced erosion. We were able to purchase and plant 600 bulrush “plugs” at a reduced price as a result of a project on Big Sandy Lake being cancelled due to high water from the early summer rains.On October 8 & 9 (a cold, windy, wet and miserable couple days!) a group of PCLIA volunteers, including Bruce and Hans Miller, Jeff Stanway, Shelley Larson, Rick Wimmer and Clayton White, along with a crew of three MN Conservation Corp workers, and Heather Baird from the MNDNR, planted the bulrushes and installed the shoreline protection barriers. A log wave barrier was also placed at the north end of the planting, near the channel between the lakes to reduce wave impact from boat traffic going through the channel. That amounted to nearly 65 volunteer hours plus the CC work crew hours.

    There is a sign at the north end of the planting area, and right now the planting doesn’t look like much (especially considering the work that went into it) but we are expecting that as the bulrush plantings take root and grow over the coming seasons, there will be long term benefits to our populations of fish and other wildlife. An additional benefit of re-establishing the bulrushes in this area is that the wave transport of sand into the channel should be reduced, so the channel may not have to be dug out as frequently.

    Roughly 2/3 of the grant funds remain and we have until the spring of 2014 to fund projects from the grant. Next spring, at our annual “Welcome To The Lake” event (date to be determined) Heather Baird will again be presenting information about what projects you can undertake along your shoreline that would be appropriate for funding under the grant.

  • Another project supported in part by a grant from the Crow Wing Soil and Water Conservation District was a shoreline restoration project done on Barb Linn’s property on Sugar Bay. Shelley Larson of Hayland Wood Native Nursery planned that project and provided native plants to cover a steep hillside and shoreline area that will eliminate the need to mow the hillside and reduce runoff from the property into the lake. A group of PCLIA volunteers assisted Shelley and Barb with that planting and learned about the benefits of native plantings.

Many thanks to all the volunteers for your time spent planning and implementing all of these projects.

For the Healthy Lakes Group,

Gary Anderson



Invasive Species Alert

As lake shore property owners we all need to be more aware of the invasive species that threaten our lakes. In Minnesota, nineteen lakes and four rivers are infested with Zebra mussels, and Eurasian Watermilfoil (EWM) has been identified in two hundred forty lakes.  Recently both of these invasive species have been discovered in lakes in our immediate area. In 2008, curly leaf pond weed was found in our chain of lakes. This invasive plant was treated in 2008 and 2009 and volunteers did not find any sign of this species last summer. We will continue to monitor the situation.

Zebra mussels attach themselves to boats, lifts, trailers, and aquatic vegetation and can be transported from other lakes. Once a lake is infested with Zebra mussels they reproduce rapidly and there is no known method to eradicate them. Never transport aquatic vegetation from other lakes and always drain the live well when taking your boat out of the lake.

The PCLIA would like your help in identifying all invasive species. Check shorelines and areas of heavy vegetation for EWM. Check docks, boats, lifts, and trailers for signs of Zebra mussels. Place a sample of any suspicious looking mussels or aquatic vegetation and contact Gary Anderson at 218-678-2949, Rick Wimmer at 218-678-2323.

Zebra Mussels

During a recent workshop in Pequot Lakes, DNR officers and lake service professionals gathered to discuss methods of controlling the invasive Zebra Mussel. Lake service professionals are comprised of companies and individuals who professionally manage boat and dock storage, as well as shoreline management. The group was well represented, with over 60 professionals in attendance.

Highlights of the meeting:

  • DNR invasive species specialist Dan Swanson presented a history of Zebra Mussels in the U.S., and their appearance in Minnesota Lakes over the last 10 years.
  • Zebra Mussels have been identified in many area waters, including Ossawinnamakee, Mille Lacs and Gull Lakes.
  • The Minnesota Legislature introduced a bill that would would increase enforcement of clean-up practices to reduce the spread of Zebra Mussels, and greatly increase fines for violation.
  • The DNR lauded local firm Nisswa Dock Company, for their observation and report of a dock infested with Zebra Mussels in Gull Lake last fall. Lake Service Professionals and you, the lakeshore owner, can be leaders in the fight against invasive species.

In related news, legislators are considering funding a series of projects to determine efficacy of chemical treatment of Zebra Mussel-infested lakes. The two leading chemical treatments are potassium chloride and Zequanox- a commercial product. During tests conducted in other parts of the country, potassium chloride was effective against the Zebra Mussel, and offers immunity for the treated lake up to 30 years. Potassium chloride treatments on a large scale may prove cost-prohibitive, however. Zequanox is currently formulating a product appropriate for use in large bodies of open water. Another chemical treatment, copper sulfate, was tested and removed the Zebra Mussel in a North Dakota test lake- along with 40,000 pounds of fish. Copper sulfate does not offer long-lasting immunity against invasive species, either.

From these recent news, it is apparent that the old adage holds true; “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure .” Please reconsider trailering your boat to other lakes, and notify the DNR if you see evidence of Zebra Mussel infestation on our lakes.

Sections of information taken from articles ‘ Lake professionals urged to lead fight against AIS’ (Brian Peterson) and ‘Bill would require experimental techniques in zebra mussel fight’ (Joe Albert).