Letter to the Chanhassen City Council and Mayor Furlong on AIS Prevention in Chanhassen’s Lakes

Dear Chanhassen City Council and Mayor Furlong

I am sending this letter to ask you to please support an Aquatic Invasive Species prevention plan in our city for 2013 that is effective, boater friendly, and fiscally responsible.  Your current plan is a start but not enough to prevent AIS contamination. I support a plan similar to the one Minneapolis implemented or the one that the Lotus Lake Conservation Association has proposed. Based on past results, it’s clear we can’t rely solely on an educated and conscientious boater to prevent the spread of Zebra Mussels and other AIS. There are many, many of them who are not educated as regards AIS or don’t care. We need to talk to each boater, make sure they understand the rules and comply with them, before they launch a potentially polluted watercraft into one of Chanhassen’s lakes. Once these enter the lakes, there is no remedy to correct them.

Please be aware that there are a tremendous number of citizens watching your action and we hope you will move to the side of preserving our naturally resources in a fiscally responsible but effective way. Many of these same citizens have invested significant time to help in the fight, not just asking for more money but by spending their time freely to educate and inform other citizens. In 2012, Chanhassen resident Scot Lacek and the Lake Minnewashta Preservation Association completed 10 road shows, put up signs and flyers at over 100 nearby businesses and blanketed our area with mailings and emails to get the word out. Read more about it here: http://lakeminnewashta.org/archives/504. We believe this is an excellent example of a citizen’s partnership with their government to address an issue that affects us all.

While you are discussing this issue, we hope you will answer the following questions:

-  Neighboring cities, like Minneapolis and Shorewood, have implemented comprehensive AIS prevention plans, including inspecting all boats.  Why isn’t Chanhassen implementing a comprehensive plan, like Minneapolis and Shorewood?

-  Minneapolis ‘s AIS program is running from ice out to December 1st, but Chanhassen’s is only running from May 24th to September 2nd.  How can this short season of inspections be expected to prevent AIS infestations?

-  Why aren’t lakes Ann, Lotus and Susan being treated the same as the other Chanhassen lakes, Minnewashta and Christmas?  At Lakes Minnewashta and Christmas, 100% of boats are inspected before they enter the water.  Don’t Ann, Lotus and Susan deserve the same treatment as Minnewashta and Christmas?

-  Why not set up an AIS task force as other cities and counties have done?  Or, why not take the plan that Minneapolis has already spent countless hours on and implement a similar plan in Chanhassen?  Or, why not implement the LLCA plan or one similar to it?  Any new plan could be run as a pilot program, and changes could be made as needed as we progress through the boating season.

-  Why has the Environmental Commission not been asked to make a recommendation to the City Council regarding AIS?

-  How can a plan that calls for inspections only three days at week at Lake Ann and Lake Susan really protect those lakes?

-  Why not take the $22,000 that was pledged but not spent in 2012, and roll it into the 2013 program?  That would allow for a significantly better program for 2013.

-  Why has Chanhassen proposed implementing a plan for 2013 that would have failed in 2012?  Last year, a trailer with zebra mussel(s) in weeds on a trailer was stopped at Lotus Lake on September 30th.  The City’s currently proposed program is scheduled to stop on September 2nd.  The threat does not end on Labor Day, so why does the program?

Steve Gunther

President, Lake Minnewashta Preservation Association

 

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CLEAN WATER FAIR, THURSDAY, APRIL 25, 2013

If you own lakeshore property, or are an elected official, and/or are concerned about our lakes and streams, and want to know what is available to help make them better and more enjoyable, then you should be at the Clean Water Fair. On Thursday, April 25th, the WHCWRA, sponsored by the Pioneer Sarah-Creek Watershed Management Association and Minnehaha Creek Watershed District, will be hosting a Resource Fair where you will have all of the newest lakeshore resources in one place. Although the main theme is ‘clean water’ we want to make sure all products connected to water are available.

ATTENDANCE IS FREE.

The hours are from 1:00 pm till 8:30 pm. Registration starts at 12:30p.m. Location is at the City of Independence Community Center. (1920 County Rd 90) There will be food available and served by the Boy Scouts, so bring the family and visit with the many vendors/agencies available for education and information.

Hourly Educational Seminars will start at 1 pm.

1:00    CLEAN WATER FUNDING                                                            MN BOARD WATER & SOIL RESOURCE                         BRAD WOZNEY

1:30    AQUATIC WEED CONTROL FOR LAKES AND PONDS             JACOBSON ENVIRONMENTAL, PLLC                              WAYNE JACOBSON

2:00    NATIVE PLANTS FOR WATER’S EDGES & WET SOIL              NATURAL SHORE TECHNOLOGIES                                 SHIRLEY MAH KOOYMAN

3:00    3rd GENERATION MANAGEMENT PLAN                                    PIONEER SARAH-CREEK WATERSHED MGT COMM    DIANNE SPECTOR

4:00    THE RESTORATION OF LAKE REBECCA-Henn County            THREE RIVERS PARK DISTRICT                                      RICH BRASCH

4:30    CUSTOMIZED APPROACH TO MANAGING CLP & EWM          BARR ENGINEERING COMPANY                                     MEG RATTEI

5:00    ZEBRA MUSSELS & AQUATIC INVASIVE SPECIES                  MINNEHAHA CREEK WATERSHED DISTRICT                ERIC FIELDSETH

6:00    7 STRATEGIES FOR A CLEAN LAKE TODAY & FOREVER      THE WEEDERS DIGEST                                                     BRUCE WAHLSTROM

7:00    CLOUD COMPUTING TO AUTOMATE AQUATIC MAPPING     CONTOUR INNOVATIONS                                                 JESSE AMO

7:45    STOPPING THE SPREAD OF AQUATIC INVASIVE SPECIES   ENVIRONMENTAL SENTRY                                               ERIC LINDBERG

Dozens of door prizes will be given away to those in attendance.

The Clean Water Resource Association was formed to be a central source of information for lake associations and lake shore property owners by gathering information on clean water resources, lake associations, vendors and agencies, and holding Clean Water Resource Fairs for education and seminars. There is a huge need for stake holders to have one place to find out what is available to be able to enjoy their lake to the fullest.

There will be an actual rain garden under construction on the city grounds during the fair.

The list of signed up vendors is increasing and includes companies in the following categories:

Aquatic Weed Control                                 Lake Associations

Lake shore restoration                                Boat Ramp Surveillance

Aquatic Mapping                                         Manure management

Phosphorous Free products                       Shoreline plants

Watershed Management Commissions     Rain garden Construction

Weed removal                                           Government agencies

 

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2013 Neighborhood Picnic and Annual Meeting

No events currently listed.

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2012 AIS Awareness Project Final Report Submitted

To the members of the Lake Minnewashta Preservation Association

I’m pleased to submit my report for our AIS Awareness Program we initiated this summer.  The specific achievements are contained below, including pictures of DNR approved deliverables.  Overall, we were very successful in completing the program in its entirety and under the budget we anticipated.

We enlisted 3 college interns from the University of Minnesota to greatly assist with the tactics of this program.  It would have been difficult to achieve our results without their focused and dedicated help.  Soliciting University of Minnesota college students for our internship was key for our program success.  They provided the ‘feet on the street’ that allowed us to devote the time to develop the material for the program that we wouldn’t have been able to achieve with just a volunteer staff.

All of our board members were active in supporting the multiple efforts, particularly the AIS Road shows.  They also provided ideas, guidance, and the many hours to support the various aspects of our program. They considered this program key to our ability to keep zebra mussels out of our lake this summer.  It was a point of discussion on our monthly board meetings throughout the summer.

Our AIS Road show elicited phenomenal response from the public.   When we engaged them or they engaged us, we were able to directly educate them and get their feedback.  There was naivety on the part of the public.  For instance, one citizen asked us if the mussels were related the virus fatalities that occurred on a nearby lake.  Some were very unaware of the threat of invasive species and were surprise to hear of the damage they can cause to an ecosystem.  Some frequent lake goers had criticisms of the inconsistent DNR inspection procedure followed on certain lakes, although they never mentioned Lake Minnewashta inspectors.

We did not have a means of measuring the effectiveness of our newsletters or e-blasts, but based on the discussions among board members, they were well crafted to spread the AIS message.

In summary, we expended considerable funds and time preparing the infrastructure for communication and materials for our AIS Road show this year.  We would like to continue this activity in 2013 for the benefit of the community, and given the re-usability of the material we have developed as well as the efficiencies we have achieved in the process, would cost considerably less in a second year.  We hope the DNR will consider the funds well spent, particularly with our face-to-face interactions with the community, and will allow us to continue the AIS Road show with public funding.   As any political campaign can attest, nothing beats face-to-face communication vis-a- vis written collateral to get the public’s attention.

Sincerely,

Scot Lacek

LMPA, V.P. and AIS Grant Program Director

2012 AIS Awareness Project Final Report

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Carver County Commissioners Approve Continued AIS Inspections for Lake Minnewashta in 2013

On February 26th 2013, Marty Walsh, Carver County Parks Director, appeared before the Carver County Board of commissioners with an update on the Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) program. He pointed out the previous work session held with the Board and the request for additional information. He explained grants have been applied for and the delegation agreement has been signed to conduct inspections. Walsh highlighted inspection programs other organizations have been doing. He reviewed two options for inspections, the levels of services to be provided, proposed funding sources and advantages and disadvantages for each option

Walsh stated the Park Commission and staff were recommending Option B. He indicated this would maximize funding and provide a higher level of service. He stated the program would hire 20 temporary inspectors and significantly add to the work they do. He added expectations will be high and scheduling can be difficult. Walsh indicated their next step would be to report back to the Board when funding is secured and to define the inspection programs.

Maluchnik moved, Workman seconded, to approve the 2013 County AIS program and authorize County staff to implement Option B as the program of choice.The Board voiced their support for the 2013 program, the success of last year’s program, the need to raise this issue with their legislators, the need to continue education and the need to find a long term solution. On vote taken on above motion, all voted aye.

David Hemze, County Administrator, inquired if the Board was interested in directing staff to pursue centralized Christmas Lake inspections at Lake Minnewashta. He stated there would be numerous levels of government they would need to deal with and they may need to start adding resources for assistance. He stated it would be good for staff to know if they were interested in doing a pilot program. Hemze indicated the City of Shorewood Administrator contacted him and was working on a program. He questioned if the Board was interested in looking at centralized inspections broadly or as a pilot program. Walsh stated he was doubtful they could produce an agreement among the different agencies by the fishing opener. The Board recognized this may take some time.

Maluchnik moved, Workman seconded, to direct staff to pursue alternative solutions to centralized Christmas Lake inspections at Lake Minnewashta. Motion carried unanimously.

Hemze clarified this did not mean that the program will happen but asks staff to move as quickly as possible to come up with alternative solutions with other governments. He stated once viable alternatives are determined, they could move into the agreement phase.

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Minnehaha Creek Watershed District AIS Management Plan draft completed

After 16 meetings, the MCWD’s AIS Task Force has completed a draft of the District’s Long Term AIS Management Plan which, once finalized, will become part of the MCWD’s 10-year comprehensive plan. The task force’s members include a variety of stakeholders, including residents, business owners, anglers, park officials and lake associations.

The purpose statement of the plan reads: “The purpose of the AIS Management Plan is to guide the MCWD in the  management of aquatic invasive species and, through education and awareness, prevention measures, and applied research, work with state and local partners to protect the District’s water resources from this environmental threat.”

The MCWD Board of Managers will begin its review of the plan in March and, after deciding whether revisions should be made, submit it to the Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources (BWSR).  Public comment will follow BWSR’s review as a proper amendment of the District’s Comprehensive Water Resources Management Plan.

note: Lake Minnewashta Preservation Association was represented on the Task Force by Steve Gunther, president of the LMPA

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