Winsted-Lester Prairie Journal, March 16, 1998

County lake association being formed in McLeod

By Bev Schmitz
Winsted Lake Watershed Association

New officers and a board of directors for the Winsted Lake Watershed Association were elected.

1998 officers are President Gene Hausladen, Vice President Gary Lenz, Secretary Bev Schmitz, and Treasurer Leona Hausladen. Board of Directors members are: Gene Hausladen, Leona Hausladen, Gary Lenz, Fran Schommer, Bev Schmitz, Dave Mochinski, Reba Duin, Zach Schmitz, and Peggy Lenz.

A list of the people that have made donations was read. As of Feb. 9, there were 95 paid memberships/renewals.

It is very important in the county lake association (COLA) to have larger membership roles for getting county level items approved.

Gene and Dave have been attending the COLA meetings for a couple months now. Each of the three member lake associations (Winsted, Bell, and Marion) have agreed that they would each chip in $100 and start a COLA checking account for $300. Roger Bergren (the McLeod County Environmentalist) will get us registered at the state level.

The first annual COLA meeting was to elect officers from each organization. Dave Mochinski is chairman representing Winsted Lake Association.

The treasurer is from the Bell Lake Association, and the vice president is from Lake Marion Association. There will be a very informative meeting to discuss the direction of this COLA coming up. They need to get a better idea of number of people they'll be representing and will try to get new lake associations to join the COLA.

Gene went to a county level meeting on feedlots and spoke for our lake association. He wanted to know about laws currently on the books that aren't being enforced (such as not planting fields closer than 20 feet to the ditches, and not spreading manure that can run off into the ditches and consequently into our lake). Five people are studying this now. Gene said they can pass new laws but what good are they if the current ones are not being enforced?

The DNR tells us that a certain amount of winter kill is to be expected, even when using aeration. Dave has been invited by the DNR to assist them when they do their "presence/absence assessment" testing on the fish in our lake this spring.

This test will tell the DNR which fish perished due to this year's winter kill and which fish species need to be restocked in Winsted Lake. Our lake has been extremely clear, with no algae bloom in the fall or winter of l997. Unfortunately, the oxygen level in the lake dropped before our aerators were even turned on this winter.

Next year we'll do oxygen tests in the fall and if the oxygen is low before December, the DNR will allow us to start the aerators before the ice forms. Currently we are limited to starting the aerators no earlier than our DNR permit states (and only after a notice has been published in the local paper twice and an additional five day waiting period has elapsed after the last newspaper publication).

Regarding the growing of green plants in our lake that provide oxygen to fish in the winter, the DNR says we need to clean up the watershed before trying to grow green plants in our lake. Last year's runoff created a small delta or island at the mouth of the creek flowing into Winsted Lake.

Any big runoff this year will create backups in that area, like a natural dam, which seems to be good for the lake. It was also noted that there is a 7 foot drop from Grass Lake to Winsted Lake.

Dave has put up more "thin ice" signs that we had to borrow from the Waverly Lake Association. We still need an "access" sign by the creek for the snowmobilers. Dave redid the other fallen signs last week. So far, open water is far enough away from the ice skating rink.

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