This message is intended to pass on some ideas for the fall, update you on our aquatic invasive species (AIS) activities, give you a quick update on our dues collections, and a few other important items.
For those of you who still have boats and docks still in the water, please be aware of a few things:
- Any dock and lift companies you hire should be “certified Lake Service Providers.” That means they have gone through a MN DNR course on AIS, and therefore, they should know how to keep from spreading AIS from one lake to another. If you are using a group that has not been certified, you are putting the lake at greater risk, and we ask that you reconsider your choice. The DNR list of “certified” Lake Service Providers is organized by county, but I suggest you just search for your dock and lift company by name. The companies you hire should be able to tell you that they are “certified,” know what to do, and do it. If they can’t … please get a “certified” company to provide those services to you.
- Some of your boats are taken out using rental trailers or trailers provided by someone else. Those trailers may have been last used in Lake Minnetonka or lakes with AIS that we don’t have in Lake Minnewashta, and therefore, they pose additional risks for spreading AIS. If your boats are being removed with a trailer that is not yours, please insist that it be decontaminated before it is used at Lake Minnewashta.
- Finally, please follow these same guidelines in 2013. If you are planning to buy any used docks or lifts, please be sure they have been out of the water for the winter before you have them put into Lake Minnewashta as the winter’s freezing temperatures will kill any attached AIS.
The leaves are everywhere this time of year, but to the extent possible, they should not be going into the lake. Letting grass clippings and leaves get into the lake increases the phosphorus, and that is not a good thing as algae growth is associated with having too much phosphorus in the lake. You will be hearing more about this and other storm water runoff concerns in the future, but there are some things that you can do now. If you are so inclined, take a rake with you on your walks and rake leaves out of the gutters and sewer grates and back on the ground where they can decompose without getting into the lake. If you walk without your trusty rake, try to notice how many leaves will be getting into the drainage system. This simple step of keeping excess leaves out of the draining systems and out of the lake can make a difference.
Our Pilot AIS inspection program at the Lake Minnewashta Regional Park boat ramp ended on September 15th. Over 2000 watercraft were inspected and two boats were turned away at the launch after zebra mussels were found on them. We hope the program was successful and kept our lake free from additional AIS this year. Unfortunately, there is a gestation period of one to two years before we will know for sure. It was expensive, but the costs were predictable and we educated a lot of watercraft users with the inspection program. Our thanks go to Carver County and the Minnehaha Creek Watershed District who provided the bulk of the money and the resources to perform the inspections this year.
We have been working with the Minnehaha Creek Watershed District as we plan our AIS prevention efforts for 2013. Our primary approaches will continue to be Education, Inspection and Enforcement. While there are lots of challenges trying to inspect every boat going into Lake Minnetonka, we can do it for Lake Minnewashta, and I believe we must. As we look forward to 2013 and beyond, we need to look towards continued inspections and lower costs for that protection. There are several initiatives underway for 2013, but it will be several more months before we know what will be possible.
The November elections will give us many new elected officials and hopefully we can retain ones that have been supportive of our AIS efforts. As you decide who gets your vote, please consider their stance on aggressive AIS prevention measures as well as using local funds to supplement funds from lake associations and other government entities.
- The City of Chanhassen has been a challenge to our AIS prevention efforts. The Lotus Lake association recently completed a candidate survey asking questions about their support for AIS prevention. Bethany Tjornhom and Jerry McDonald have not been supportive of managing access to Lotus Lake and other aggressive AIS prevention efforts. Candidates Pettis, Relick or Winterer appear to be much more supportive. Kirk Pettis in fact is a Lake Minnewashta resident.
- Every Carver County Commissioner seat is up for election this year. You should know that we have been very well supported in our AIS prevention efforts by Tom Workman.
- The redistricting of the state puts all of Lake Minnewashta in the same districts: District 47 for the Senate and District 47B for the House.
- In the State Senate race between Julianne Ortman and Jim Weygand, neither website addresses AIS as one of the issues. Ortman is thought to be less sympathetic to AIS issues as a champion of limited government. Weygand at least has a picture of a clear water stream on his website.
- In the State House race, Joe Hoppe is running unopposed.
Lastly, our Fall Picnic has been postponed and will be combined with our Annual Meeting on April 28th, 2013. It was a lot of work to plan this event and our volunteers suggested combining the two.
I want to thank all of you who have contributed to our 2012 dues campaign. This year your contributions totaled only $6,000, which is much lower than in past years. If you haven’t yet contributed, please consider a tax deductible contribution to provide the funds that are so necessary in our work as stewards of Lake Minnewashta. Checks can be made out to LMPA and mailed to PO Box 304, Excelsior MN 55331.
president, Lake Minnewashta Preservation Association