Only two years ago, the LMPA and its members approved a plan to reserve funds for emergency use should a new invasive species enter our lake that needed money to eradicate it. In 2016, that emergency happened as Zebra Mussels were discovered in late August. As a result of having that Contingency Fund, we were able to rapidly respond to the eradication effort. Because of the timing of the infestation, had we delayed even a few weeks, the zebra mussel population might have grown and spread. As the water cooled, the effectiveness of the chemical treatment might have been diminished as the mussels went dormant for the winter. And the deep water launch at Access #1, that many boaters use to launch and remove their deep draft boats, would potentially remain closed, stranding these boats in the lake.
The LMPA spent over $15,000 of your donations to attack the zebra mussel invasion. I very much appreciate the donations from many of you, but only 32 families and neighborhood associations made a contribution in 2016. And those same people donate year after year while the rest of the lake users enjoy the benefits. We all need to chip in to help.
Future funding from the Watershed District and Carver County for prevention and response programs like this are likely to be reduced. The DNR has eliminated them. If multiple lakes experience a Zebra Mussel infestation in 2017, the money these entities can contribute will be reduced. All are looking to Lake Associations to provide funding for response treatments in the future.
Again, in 2016, we have less than half the contributors and funds that we’ve had in previous years. We are seriously short of our needs for 2017 and will need to decide whether we rebuild our Contingency Fund or provide invasive weed treatments in 2017. Given the funding cuts elsewhere, I will vote for the Contingency Fund.
If you care about Lake Minnewashta, please make a donation to the LMPA. It’s needed now more than ever.