Lone Zebra Mussel Discovered in Lake Minnewashta at Pleasant Acres Assocation Beach/Launch

Carver County Water Management Organization
600 East 4th Street, Chaska, MN 55318
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Contact: Andrew Dickhart

Invasive species specialists with the Carver County Water Management Organization (CCWMO) and Minnehaha Creek Watershed District (MCWD) confirmed the presence of a single adult zebra mussel in Lake Minnewashta during a zebra mussel survey on Thursday, June 28th. Snorkelers spotted the lone zebra mussel about a hundred feet from shore in a sandy-bottom area of the lake near a private water access. Scuba-divers with the MN Department of Natural Resources also joined the survey effort by scanning the lake bottom in areas with greater depths, but only the one invasive zebra mussel was found.

Zebra mussels were first discovered in Lake Minnewashta in 2016 and again in 2017 at the public boat launch at Lake Minnewashta Regional Park. Thanks to MCWD’s and CCMWO’s aggressive aquatic invasive species monitoring programs, the mussels were discovered early enough both times for rapid response treatment to take place.

County and Watershed District staff will continue conducting surveys and utilize new techniques that monitor for zebra mussel larvae and presence of zebra mussel DNA to determine if populations are present in other areas of the lake.
Lakeshore property owners can help by checking for zebra mussels on their docks & water related equipment, and along their shorelines.

This is a reminder to boaters and anglers to follow Minnesota laws to prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species:
• Clean aquatic plants and animals from watercraft, trailers, and equipment.
• Drain all water by removing drain plugs and keep drain plugs out while transporting
• Dispose of unwanted bait in the trash

EDIT: Please launch your watercraft only though the Lake Minnewashta County Park where inspections are performed to prevent the spread of invasive species.

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Calendar of Events for July 4th Fun on Lake Minnewashta

Thanks to the hard work of MANY people around the lake, our July 4th plans are COMPLETE! Please join us for any or all of the fun events we have planned on Lake Minnewashta.

The best viewing area for the Water Ski show at 9:00 AM is at Kevin and Jean Ann Thayer’s property at 3421 Shore Drive. Thank you Thayer’s for allowing the fans to gather at your house! The Water Ski Show organizers include Tom Wright, Janet Quarberg, Hal Clague and Konrad Seifker.

The Lake Minnewashta Fourth of July celebration in the Minnewashta Heights Park at 11AM will include hot dogs, brats, chips and water for a donation (suggested donation is $3). We will also have over 30 awesome raffle items including wine baskets, a water plane ride, Twins tickets, kids baskets and restaurant gift cards (all baskets valued at or over $50) and raffle tickets are just $1 a ticket!!! Facebook users can find descriptions of the raffle items here . Please tell your family and friends so they remember to bring cash with them. You don’t want to miss out on the fun!! Thanks to our volunteers: Dawn Berry, Donna Bornhorst, Christy Brown, Margaret Coldwell, Kathy Dreesen, Belen Fleming, Cindy Hanson, Laurie Hanson, Deb Hollwedel, Kristin Jackson, Josey Johnson, Lynn Lee, Heather Macgowan, Kim Mortensen, Katy Mulheran, Annie Paul, Mary Pickering, Marlys Sands, Jenny Shawgo, Courtnay Suter, Jean Ann Thayer, Angie Weaver, Sarah Wells, Brandi Virgin and all of their families.

The fireworks on the lake begin at DUSK. If you are viewing them from a boat, please be sure to stay well clear of the launch area so as not to risk possible injury or fire. Also, be aware that Law Enforcement professionals will be on the lake giving tickets for improper lighting, boating under the influence, unsafe boating and other things. Please follow the rules and make it a safe event for everyone.  Thanks to Beth Ginther for pulling this together every year!

The fireworks display over Lake Minnewashta is solely funded by Lake Minnewashta area residents.  Please make your tax deductible donations payable to: KABOOM (Keep America’s Birthday Observance On Minnewashta) and send to Beth Ginther at 3611 Ironwood Rd. Excelsior, MN 55331!

Keep in touch – Be sure to give us your email address so we can add you to our electronic newsletter distribution. Or check our website at www.lakeminnewashta.org. And join our Lake Minnewashta Preservation Association Facebook group! Or tweet with us @lakeminnewashta.  Or email us at info@lakeminnewashta.org 

Please don’t hesitate to contact me if you have questions or comments about things we are or are not doing. Thanks for reading and thanks for your support!

Steve Gunther
President, Lake Minnewashta Preservation Association

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Planting for Clean Water

It’s officially spring, and we are ready to hear the birds singing, see buds swelling on tree branches and watch refreshing rains that wash away the salt and grit from the landscape. But the salt and grit that has accumulated on roads, sidewalks and parking lots these last few months are a major source of pollution in our lakes and streams. Some simple steps you can take to reduce runoff are to install a rain barrel and redirect downspouts away from driveways and sidewalks so they drain to a lawn or a nearby garden. You can also incorporate native plants into your landscaping and provide areas for water to infiltrate into the ground.

“Native plants” are plants that have been in this region for hundreds of years and have evolved to withstand the local climate and ecological pressures. In general, native plants have long roots that can find water deep underground, prevent erosion, decrease soil compaction, and filter out pollutants. Because they are well adapted to our climate and soil, they typically need little water and no fertilizer or pesticides. And they add beauty and habitat and food for wildlife and pollinators.

If you would like to add native plants to your landscape, your first step is to determine where you’d like to plant them. Ideal locations are along shorelines, slopes, depressions, and areas where turf grass doesn’t grow well. Then you will need to consider the soil type and sun exposure in those spots as these factors will influence which native plants will grow best. Also consider any local regulations that may affect what you can plant where, and what will be amenable to your neighbors. Lastly, determine what kind of plants you like – do you prefer colorful flowers that bloom throughout the year, or do you like grasses or low-growing shrubs? There are a lot of native plant guides out there, and a great resource is www.blue-thumb.org, which is a partnership of local government units (including Minnehaha Creek Watershed District), non-profits, and private companies working toward clean water goals.

Another way to incorporate native plants into your yard is to build a rain garden. A rain garden is a bowl-shaped garden of native plants that captures runoff and allows the water to soak into the ground. The water is filtered to remove sediment and pollutants, which keeps polluted water from running off the landscape and polluting local lakes and streams. Rain gardens also add beauty to your yard, support pollinators and birds, and may even inspire your neighbors to install one too!

If you are ready to help clean water in your neighborhood by planting native plants or a rain garden, check out the workshops Minnehaha Creek Watershed District is hosting in partnership with Metro Blooms in April: www.minnehahacreek.org/education. Happy spring and happy planting!

Thanks to Sarah Bhimani, Communications Coordinator at the Minnehaha Creek Watershed District for this content!

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A low-salt diet for our lakes and streams

Despite the warmer weather this week, it’s never too early to consider the impact of salt on our waters. A little salt can go a long way for managing snow and ice. But too much salt – which may be less than you think – is causing irreversible damage to our lakes and streams.

The danger of ice and snow on roads and sidewalks is a fact of life in Minnesota, and salt and sand can help reduce ice and add traction. When that snow inevitably melts, however, most of that salt and sand wash directly into nearby waters.

Currently, salt use is not regulated, but it poses a real threat to clean water. The chloride contained in one teaspoon of road salt can permanently pollute five gallons of water. Chloride upsets aquatic environments, can kill birds and some plants, and can impact groundwater used for drinking.

Many people use more salt than they need. But using more salt does not melt more ice, or melt it faster. In reality, salt only works when the temperature is above 15 degrees. Extra salt crystals will just eventually become a pollutant. It’s best to use no more than one pound of salt per 250 square feet (for scale, a typical parking space is about 150 square feet). One pound of salt fills up a 12-ounce coffee mug.

Want to protect your local lake or stream from chloride pollution? Here are some easy ways you can help:

o Shovel regularly (a great form of winter exercise) to minimize ice buildup.
o Break up ice with an ice scraper before deciding if sand or salt is necessary for traction – you may find that it’s not.
o Salt won’t work if the temperature is below 15 degrees. Use calcium chloride or magnesium chloride instead, or use a small amount of sand for traction.
o Sweep up any salt that’s visible on dry pavement and use it elsewhere or throw it away.

By being proactive with your snow management, and using salt and sand wisely, you can save money, time, and the environment without sacrificing safety. Learn more at www.minnehahacreek.org/salt. Thanks go to the Minnehaha Creek Watershed District (www.minnehahacreek.org) for this article.

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Zebra Mussel Treatment Completed and Regional Park Boat Access Reopened

Drew Dickhart from the Carver County Water Management Organization reported that the Zebra Mussel treatment at the Lake Minnewashta Regional Parks boat access has been completed. They opened a 20 foot gap in the containment barrier to allow boats to be immediately removed from or launched into the lake. The barrier will be fully removed in the very near future. Thank you for your patience. 

Remember to inspect your boats, docks and lifts for signs of zebra mussels. Please report any zebra mussels found to Drew Dickhart at adickhart@co.carver.mn.us, including your name and address for potential verification. Follow this link for more detail and pictures of Zebra Mussels http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/invasives/aquaticanimals/zebramussel/index.html

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10/25/17 Update on Zebra Mussel Treatment

As of Wednesday, Carver County reported that the aquacide treatment had killed 50% of the zebra mussels and another treatment was applied. They hope to have 100% mortality by Friday. At that time, they will provide an outlook for reopening the boat access

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