Zebra Mussel Update – July 14th, 2011

Greetings!

Here’s an update on what is happening with the Zebra Mussel threat on our lake and what your Lake Minnewashta Preservation Association board is doing about it. While we continue to work hard on this, we need your help. Please read on for specifics if you want to protect your lake.  

 

HOW CAN YOU HELP?

  • Watch the video prepared by the DNR and follow the laws and practices on your own watercraft. Share it with your neighbors and publicize it at your private access launches. Here’s a link     http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=laoJ_NP-XFo 
  • Be trained in zebra mussel watercraft inspection by coming to the Lotus Lake launch on Saturday 7/16 at 1PM.
  • Either volunteer your time or apply for a paid position to inspect watercraft.
  • Donate money to the LMPA to help pay for every incoming boat to be inspected for zebra mussels.
  • Lobby the Carver County Parks Commission and eventually the Carver County Board to require 100% watercraft inspection immediately and to find a funding source that does not include the LMPA.  
  • Sign petitions as they are circulated to demand this.
  • Contact Steve Gunther if you have any questions, comments or concerns.

ZEBRA MUSSEL REFRESHER

  •  Zebra mussels are a non-native species that breed exponentially and can limit recreational activities and alter aquatic ecosystems by displacing native species.
  • Minnesota has enacted new laws in 2011 for Aquatic Invasive Species Prevention (bill 11-0190) with enhanced authority for inspections and increased penalties for violations.                                
  • They have been found in nearby Lake Minnetonka and Prior Lake and spread predominantly by unintentional transfer on watercraft/trailers, in water in the boat or bait containers.  
  •  Currently there are no environmentally safe methods to kill zebra mussels once they become established in a natural system.                                
  • Because of this, the DNR does not try to eliminate zebra mussels if they become established in a lake or river.
  • This is why it is important to prevent their spread, since once they arrive in a water body there is no way to eliminate them.               

 

THE FACTS ABOUT ZEBRA MUSSELS AND THEIR IMPACT:

  • Fact 1: Zebra Mussels will attach to almost any hard surface
  • Fact 2: A single female will lay over 500,000 eggs in a spawning season.
  • Fact 3: Zebra Mussels will attach to outdrives, boat bottoms, boat lifts and docks which will typically cost $600 – $900 per year in motor, dock, lift repair, cleaning and prevention
  • Fact 4: Zebra Mussels have a life span of 4-6 years.  After dying their razor sharp shells will wash up on shore. 
  • Fact 5: Zebra Mussels are filter feeders, which may increase water clarity… BUT 
    • Milfoil thrives in clear water and weed banks will expand
    • Fish population can suffer in an environment with fewer nutrients. 

 

WHAT’S NEW WITH ZEBRA MUSSELS

  • The Zebra Mussel infestation that was observed in Lake Minnetonka bays has spread to many more bays. Here is a link to a recent article. http://www.startribune.com/local/west/125080804.html 
  • At this time, we have no known infestations on Lake Minnewashta but the risk remains very high. There are monitoring blocks in the lake that are to be used to assess the incidence of the mussels.
  • It is our belief that the education and random inspection system that was used in the past to prevent the spread of milfoil or curly leaf pondweed (which have fully infested our lake) did not work and will not work for zebra mussels and future invasive species.
  • Minnesota State law has been signed in June which significantly raises the penalties and fines for transporting invasive species. However, an audit of roughly 200 trailered boats launching at Lotus Lake indicates a 25% non compliance level with those laws. This included water in the boat or bait bucket and the drain plug in while transporting the boat.                  
  • The Lake Minnewashta Preservation Association board believes that 100% watercraft inspections are justified given the level of non compliance observed and the permanent impact an improperly cleaned watercraft can have on the quality of our lake and its ecosystem by transferring zebra mussels and their larvae into Lake Minnewashta.                                                 

WHAT’S UP WITH WATERCRAFT INSPECTION AT OUR PUBLIC LAUNCHES AT THE REGIONAL PARK

  • Watercraft inspection by DNR interns began May 14th but the inspectors worked only 25-30% % of available launch hours. Lack of funding and qualified inspectors was the gate. All DNR inspections at Lake Minnewashta have stopped due to the state shutdown on July 1st
  • Our attempts to implement 100% watercraft inspections at the Lake Minnewashta Regional Park with the financial help of the Lotus and Christmas Lakes homeowners Associations has not been successful to date. This is due to a number of entities questioning the legal authority to require a watercraft inspection at a location other than the lake into which a boater wishes to launch. We are appealing to the governor, the state attorney general and the commissioner of the DNR for help  

NOW WHAT?

  • Given that we cannot count on shared resources, your LMPA Board has voted to divert some of our current funds to pay for 100% inspections on our own at the Regional Park. We agreed to use approximately $5000 of money donated by residents to the LMPA and $5000 of money granted to us by the Minnehaha Creek Watershed District.
  • The Carver Parks authority supports this inspection, as long as it remains voluntary.
  • The LMPA is now implementing a plan where DNR-trained volunteers/inspectors will man the boat launch to the best of our ability. A single inspection station will be implemented at the east launch to optimize our available resources. All incoming watercraft will be directed to that launch for inspection.               
  • We successfully negotiated an agreement with Lotus Lake homeowners association to use their Zebra Mussel Inspection manager to oversee our resources as well as many of their trained inspectors (who are willing) to operate our station.  span>    
  • We need more inspectors (volunteer or paid) willing to work and are advertising for inspectors (preferably DNR trained) to work the launch from 6AM to 9PM Monday to Sunday. See the Craigslist posting at: http://minneapolis.craigslist.org/csw/edu/2486816445.html. Contact Scot Lacek at scotlacek@hotmail.com.
  • Our next training session is Saturday July 16th at 1PM at Lotus Lake public boat access at 7610 South Shore Drive in Chanhassen. The training will take 20-30 minutes.                                                           

WHAT ABOUT 2012?

  • The LMPA board is taking the position that our homeowners association cannot (nor should they) afford to pay for the cost of preventing Zebra Mussels and other invasive species from entering Lake Minnewashta.                                                       
  • On July 13th, we presented to the Carver Parks Commission and requested an increase in park fees be implemented in 2012 and beyond to cover the cost of inspections by the DNR or its trained agents to prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species into Lake Minnewashta. We believe that to not do so is to ignore Carver Parks’ responsibility to maintain the natural resources put in your care.
  • This will be presented to the Carver County Board on July 26th.

HOW CAN YOU HELP?

  • Watch the video prepared by the DNR and follow the laws and practices on your own watercraft. Share it with your neighbors and publicize it at your private access launches. Here’s a link     http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=laoJ_NP-XFo
  • Be trained in zebra mussel watercraft inspection by coming to the Lotus Lake launch on Saturday 7/16 at 1PM.
  • Either volunteer your time or apply for a paid position to inspect watercraft.
  • Donate money to the LMPA to help pay for every incoming boat to be inspected for zebra mussels.
  • Lobby the Carver County Parks Commission and eventually the Carver County Board to require 100% watercraft inspection immediately and to find a funding source that does not include the LMPA.  
  • Sign petitions as they are circulated to demand this.
  • Contact Steve Gunther if you have any questions, comments or concerns.

Please send your tax deductible check to: LMPA, PO Box 304, Excelsior, MN 55331.

Or donate through PayPal by following the link on our website, www.lakeminnewashta.org :

Steve Gunther
Lake Minnewashta Preservation Association

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