Our 2016 Lake Story

Invasive weed treatments – Curly Leaf Pondweed and Eurasian Water Milfoil:
For many years, Lake Minnewashta has been infested with non-native, invasive weeds – Curly Leaf Pondweed (CLP) and Eurasian Water Milfoil (EWM). They affect the enjoyment of the lake by clogging propellers, affecting the water clarity and making our lake uninviting for fishing, skiing, tubing and swimming. With approval from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR), we do our best to eliminate invasive weeds in the commonly-used areas of our lake, further out from shore than residents are allowed to treat. Our efforts in the last few years have been to treat the CLP early, since it grows and dies early in the season. This is followed by two doses of aquacide to treat the EWM, using the natural lake currents to spread the aquacide. Our results continue to be good with lower weed levels reported after treatment again this year.
In 2017, we will continue our efforts at attacking the Curly Leaf and Milfoil. However, we will not commit to treatment unless we have the money in hand before treatment. We currently do not.

Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) Prevention: Over the years, the LMPA has spent thousands of dollars educating lake users on their personal responsibility to prevent the spread of AIS by not transporting weeds, mussels or even water from one lake to another. Still, statewide, over 25% of lake users fail to follow the laws. We are fortunate to have strong partners in Carver Park, the Carver County Commissioners and the Watershed District, all of whom are working to prevent new Invasive Species from entering the Lake. Our 100% inbound inspection has prevented many boats with zebra mussel infestation from launching.
Unfortunately, it was not 100% effective and we had a Zebra Mussel infestation at the Carver Park launch. And funding for that in 2017 may be curtailed as money that was spent at Carver Park may be split between other lakes and parks. What can you do?
• Make sure you or any visitors Clean, Drain and Dry watercraft before entering a lake.
• Hire Certified Lake Service Providers that are permitted by the DNR to work on water
• Educate your friends, neighbors and guest and have them launch their watercraft ONLY through the Regional Park to ensure they are not transporting invasive species.

Algae levels
You may have noticed more algae on the lake this year. The reason for that is the water that entered our lake from the increased rains this year brought a significant amount of nutrients from ground run-off into the lake.  This run-off increases algae growth in the lake. Run-off prevention with natural lakeshore buffers rather than lush lawns is key to minimizing that. Ask us how you can help.

Organic Runoff Reduction: Reducing the amount of leaves and other organics from entering the lake is getting increased focus. Did you know that just five bags of leaves and organic debris from streets and sidewalks can contain one pound of phosphorus? Over time, this can lead to the growth of hundreds of pounds of algae. We are working with the City of Chanhassen to improve our street sweeping efforts, particularly in spring and fall, to prevent this natural fertilizer from entering the water. In the meantime, homeowners can
– Remove debris from the street and especially around the storm drain grates.
– Point your lawnmower discharge chute away from the street and the lake.
– Maintain a 5-foot-wide native plant buffer strip in front of the shore to keep geese away.
– Pick up your dog’s poop and discard it in the trash.

E-Coli at Carver Park beach
While we had no influence on creating it or curing it, the Carver Park beach was closed for several weeks due to an e-Coli infestation. There never was a cause identified but fecal matter from geese, humans or water runoff was suspected. After the infestation, other areas of the lake were measured and found to be safe but only the park beach is routinely monitored.

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Annual LMPA Membership Drive

Why join the LMPA or renew my LMPA membership?
Being a member of the LMPA demonstrates your commitment to helping keep Lake Minnewashta beautiful and its waters clean. Importantly, your participation allows our organization to have a greater “voice” with key funding sources and decision makers such as the DNR, Carver County and other elected officials. The LMPA is the ONLY association that represents all of Lake Minnewashta and its constituents!

How much does membership cost?

We appreciate every resident is in a different situation, so we suggest the following annual membership dues/donations to support our efforts:
• $50 or more if you live off the lake and have no deeded access.
• $150 or more if you have access to the lake through an Association.
• $200 or more if you live on or have direct access to the lake.

What does my donation/membership fee go towards?
The LMPA’s annual operating budget is $17,000, with nearly 95% of our expenses directed towards invasive weed treatment in the general common-use areas. (Individual homeowners can only treat the areas surrounding their dock/shoreline). Importantly, 100% of our income is dependent upon our annual donation/membership dues, as we no longer receive matching grants from the DNR. Currently, we have raised less than half our needs ($7,775) from 32 donors, the latter representing less than 10% of the 425 potential households in the surrounding area. If we are going to develop an effective and sustainable membership organization, we need greater participation and support!

What benefits do I receive from being a member of the LMPA?
• The personal satisfaction of supporting the only organization dedicated to keeping Lake Minnewashta one of the best bodies of water in the state.
• The higher property values that come with protecting the quality of the lake.
• The continued ability to make tax-deductible contributions
• The community and friendships that are built among members of the LMPA.
• Newsletters and a website that highlight the LMPA efforts and other lake activities.
• Discounts at Midwest Watersports in Victoria.

What is the Contingency Fund and how can I help?
The Contingency Fund is money that has been reserved to respond to unanticipated events that impact the quality of our lake – most recently the 2016’s Zebra Mussel infestation. Fortunately, we had resources available to act quickly, but our fund is now depleted and we are in need of donations to rebuild it! If we have another AIS emergency, we may not be able to pay to eradicate it.

Please send this form and your tax deductible check to:
LMPA, PO Box 304, Excelsior, MN 55331,
OR Click here to donate via PayPal

Name_____________________________Signature____________________________

Phone_____________________ Email address __________________________________

Address___________________________________________________________________

Amount enclosed for LMPA Dues $200 ___ $150 ____ $50 ___ Other $___

Additional donation to be directed to replenish the Contingency Fund $_____

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Urgent Need to Replenish our Funds

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.

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LMPA Annual Meeting: October 27th at 7PM

LMPA Annual Meeting: October 27th at 7PM

The Lake Minnewashta Preservation Association’s Annual Meeting is set for Thursday October 27th at 7PM. It will be held at Faith Lutheran Church on Minnewashta Parkway and Highway 5. Please plan to attend and get an update on the important issues on Lake Minnewashta.

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Lake Minnewashta Zebra Mussel Eradication Work Nears a Successful Completion

Eric Fieldseth, from the Minnehaha Creek Watershed District, reported today that 100% of the Zebra Mussels exposed to the Copper Sulfate treatment in the last 10 days have died. These were mussels placed in contained cages and used to signal the successful completion of the treatment. No further chemical treatment is planned but the containment barriers will remain up for the weekend to allow a little more time in case any zebra mussels outside of the cages were alive. The containment barriers will be removed by Carver County early next week and the launch will be reopened at that time.

Note that beyond the initial 14 zebra mussels found, the MCWD spent two full days looking around the lake with SCUBA divers and snorkelers. No additional mussels were found outside the contained area. Based on the size distribution of the zebra mussels found (varying sizes ranging from 3 mm to 13 mm), and the fact that they were all found in 1 to 2 feet of water directly under the dock at the public access, and we never detected any veligers (baby/immature mussels) through our sampling, we don’t believe there is reproduction occurring in the lake. The best we can do is go off of the facts we have.

Now we really need all of the lakeshore owners to check their docks and lifts as you take them out this fall and carefully look for zebra mussels. If anyone would like to let the MCWD take a look at them as they are taken out, that would be great! Please email Jill at jsweet@minnehahacreek.org or Eric at EFieldseth@minnehahacreek.org if you are willing to let them look over your docks and lifts as they are removed.

The MCWD will conduct more surveys next spring looking for any additional signs of zebra mussels. Let’s hope they find nothing.

Three final points.
First, this was a very rapid and well coordinated effort by a lot of people. Special mention and thanks go to Eric Fieldseth at the MCWD for taking the lead and spearheading this. Speed was very important in this and Eric did an outstanding job.

Second, without the financial contributions of the MCWD (about $10,000), Carver County (about $10,000) and the Lake Minnewashta Preservation Association members (About $15,000) this effort might not have occurred. Without rapid containment and treatment, the results could have been disastrous as that would have allowed zebra mussels to infest broad areas of the lake with negative effects.

Finally, The LMPA members voted two years ago to build up an emergency fund for just such a purpose and thankfully we had it. Now that account is completely empty and we need to refill it. Please consider a generous donation in our fall fundraising campaign to make that happen. State, County and watershed funding on Aquatic Invasive Species efforts unfortunately are being severely curtailed and it will be up to the lake association members to carry a larger load in the future. Feel free to contact our local county commissioners to voice your concerns. Tom Workman, tworkman@co.carver.mn.us, is our county commissioner and he is a friend of Lake Minnewashta.

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Zebra Mussel Eradication Update from Eric Fieldseth – MCWD AIS Lead

We are 7 days into treatment, and have reached 100% mortality of the zebra mussels samples in the small 0.61 acre area surrounding the access. As of today, we are currently at 36% mortality in the larger, 29 acre site. We expect to see more mortality in the coming days, hopefully reaching 100% by Friday, but no guarantees.

As far as non-target impacts, the Dissolved Oxygen crashed pretty early, there has been a small fish kill composed of a couple pike, several bullheads and some small perch. The majority of the dead fish seem to be bullheads, mostly really small ones. They are not numerous, you have to drive through the water lilies to see them. There are still a lot of fish swimming around, and since we are at 100% mortality in the small area, we cut a few zip ties at a couple seams in the barrier to hopefully allow fish to get out of that area. The native mussels we had in our sample cages are also mostly dead, there is still one alive in the larger area. As far as vegetation, we saw very early impact to Coontail, its mostly gone from the channel. Sago Pondweed and Eurasian Watermilfoil remain fairly abundant.

We’ve had three bump treatments since the initial treatment, with another small bump likely tomorrow. Concentrations seem to be holding fairly steady now. We’ve used 1300 gallons out of the 2100 gallons that were initially ordered so far. We will likely have some left over, I’ll work with the manufacturer on our options for any leftover chemical.

As far as the access reopening, Carver County will make that decision. I think we’ll have a really good idea on how realistic that is in the next couple days.

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