Winsted-Lester Prairie Journal, Dec. 20, 1999

Winsted Lake linked to comprehensive plan

By Luis Puga

The Winsted Lake Watershed Association appeared before the Winsted Planning Commission to add Winsted Lake to the goals and objectives section of the city's comprehensive plan last Monday.

Gene Hausladen, president of the lake association, said the lake's condition is important to to the future growth of the city.

He noted the lake currently has 13 times the recommended level of phosphorous. As a result, the lake takes on a green color, and Hausladen said he has gotten calls from two new lakeshore homeowners who are disappointed with the lake's condition.

Hausladen said the watershed area is still the primary consideration as a pollutant. But he also noted the city's contribution to the lake's pollution and said he would like to see it addressed in the future.

Sequestration, a process by which iron ferrite is injected into the lake to naturally neutralize the phosphorous, has been done on Trillium Lake in Hackensack for eight years and has improved the clarity of water by 80 percent.

However, Hausladen noted that watershed pollutants need to be taken care of before the sequestration can be implemented.

As such, he requested that an objective should be added to the comprehensive plan to address the issue.

One of the proposals discussed was establishing the lake association as a direct advisor to the city on any concerns regarding Winsted Lake.

Also, it was discussed that the association should meet with the planning commission on a yearly basis.

Due to concern over a county ditch that drains into Winsted Lake, Hausladen said the McLeod County commissioners also need to be included in any discussions.

He noted that the worst area of draining is located in McLeod Co. from five farms that the ditch runs through.

The lake association has been trying to get grass strips placed along sections of the ditch in the county. Currently, a subsidy program is available for those strips. It was suggested that the grass strips be added as a goal to the comprehensive plan.

Hausladen maintained that the county has not been cooperative in this matter, calling it "anti-environmental."

Hausladen also said he did not want to be the farmers' enemy and would rather work with them to solve the problem.

Council Member Gary Lenz observed that the problems with the lake are not just due to the ditch, but that the city had culpability in some of the pollution, as well.

Lenz, who is also a member of the lake association, said the city contributes pollution from street run-off and direct storm sewer drainage into the lake.

Matt Johnson, from the Mid-Minnesota Development Commission, told Hausladen that his suggestion would be taken into consideration. He noted that in the process of adding to the comprehensive plan, every single issue brought up gets addressed.

The goals and objectives section is a compilation of 11 broad goal areas set out by the Community Based Planning Act.

The process of editing them is to refine them for the use of the city of Winsted. The community's input is welcomed in the editing process.

Johnson described the act as covering areas which the state felt cities had missed in planning and ended up harming them in the long run.

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