By Kristen Miller
DASSEL, DARWIN, COKATO, MN - Area lake associations have been teaming up with land owners to help make their lake as clean and user-friendly as possible.
This summer, lake association officials have tested water for clarity, with each lake varying depending on the amount of vegetation in the water, such as invasive plants like Curly-leaf Pondweed.
Many active lake associations with participation of the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources will take necessary measures to maintain or improve water quality.
The following is information regarding the area lake associations including an update of any recent projects and how land owners can become involved.
Lake Washington Improvement Association
Kim Winter, president of the Lake Washington Improvement Association, gave an update on the lake, which included the information that 79 acres of water were treated for milfoil recently.
The treatment was paid for partially through a Department of Natural Resources grant, but the majority through donations from lake residents, Winter explained.
The association is gearing up for its annual summer event set for Saturday, Aug. 1.
The Lake Washington Improvement Association meets the first Tuesday of the month from February through Oct., 7 p.m., at the Dassel Rod and Gun Club. Its main goals are to maintain and improve water quality on the lake, keep all stakeholders informed and involved in all matters that impact the lake and surrounding areas, monitor and develop lake management plans, and develop more direct lines of communication with the DNR, PCA, Meeker County Commissioners, and township boards.
Officers are Winter, president; Steve Ullom, secretary; and Cammy Moses, treasurer. A Lake Washington directory is published every four to five years. Membership fees are $50 a year and may be sent to PO Box 68, Dassel, MN 55325. The web site is www.lakewashingtonassn.com.
Brooks Lake Area Association
Through water quality testing such as the secchi disk reading, the Brooks Lake Area Association has seen a dramatic decrease in clarity since May, according to Manda Goldsberry, president.
Readings in May showed 15.5 feet of clarity and the reading in June showed only 6.5 feet of clarity. This number can only expect to decline due to the Curly-leaf Pondweed, an invasive aquatic plant. Last September, clarity was only 2.5 feet.
According to Goldsberry, the plant starts dying in June, increasing phosphorus, causing the green algae bloom that directly affects the clarity of the lake and its overall health.
The association is looking into chemical treatments.
Curly-leaf Pondweed most likely entered the lake on a boat that hadn’t been cleaned off after being on another lake with the invasive plant, Goldsberry said.
Brooks Lake is in the heart of Cokato and has a surface area of 96 acres with a maximum depth of 21 feet. The lake is bordered by the Veterans Memorial Park, with a public access for fishing and recreation.
The Brooks Lake Area Association monitors clarity, temperature, water quality and use through water testing and surveys. It has an annual meeting and publishes a yearly newsletter. The association aims to promote, maintain, and improve the environmental and recreational protection of Brooks Lake and its surrounding area while addressing the wants and needs of the residents, community, lake, and watershed as a whole.
A web site has been developed to share any information the association receives at www.brookslake.info.
The officers are Goldsberry, president; Ronald Olson, vice president; Corynn Flood, treasurer; and Jonathan Goldsberry, secretary.
The association is actively seeking members and volunteers. If you would like to get involved, please write PO Box 462 Cokato, MN 55321, firstname.lastname@example.org or call one of the officers.
Cokato Lake Improvement Association
The Cokato Lake Improvement Association meets May, September, and periodically as scheduled.
The association is made up of homeowners on and around the lake people who are concerned about the care and quality of fishing and recreation on the lake.
Officers are: Joel Hillmann, president; Phil Hanson, vice president; Judy Trolander, secretary; Bette Norton, treasurer. Questions may be directed to Hillmann at (320) 286-2132.
Lake Stella Association
Lake Stella has a surface area of 553 acres and a maximum depth of 75 feet. The association has an annual newsletter and monitors the lake through the Citizens Lake Monitoring Program, DNR Lake Level Program, and Lake Testing Outdoor Corps of the University of Minnesota Extension Service.
The association also monitors lake levels, rainfall, water temperature, when the ice goes on and off, hosts an annual picnic, and participates in the 2004 Lake Management Plan.
Testing of the lake has been done and the association is waiting on results, according to Kevin Compton, co-president of the association.
The association also recently had its annual breakfast July 11.
Officers are Kevin Compton, Rod Portley, co-presidents; Dave Franzen, treasurer; Duane Hoversten, secretary; Gary Otto as historian; and N. Jack Schuster, as county lake association representative; all of Darwin.
Dassel Area Environmental Association
The Dassel Area Environmental Association represents both Long Lake and Spring Lake. Long Lake has a surface area of 163 acres and a maximum depth of 28 feet. Spring Lake has a surface area of 218 acres and a maximum depth of 30 feet.
The Dassel Area Environmental Association is currently working with the DNR in developing a lake management plan for the weeds in Long Lake.
A recent secchi disk test showed Long Lake had a 15-foot clarity, better than many of the surrounding lakes, said Rick Craswell, president.
On Spring Lake, the last reading showed 3.5-foot clarity, according to Dave Scepaniak, who is a volunteer for the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency as part of the Citizen Lake Monitoring program.
“Spring Lake has seen really wonderful turnaround from 1996 to present in clarity,” Scepaniak said.
The association has been fairly active in the last several years, getting grants for testing and weed control of Curly-leaf Pondweed on Long Lake, according to Scepaniak.
Association membership includes more than 80 properties and a resort on Long Lake. Rick Craswell of Dassel is the primary contact (320) 275-4577, and Dan Holje is the editor of the association’s annual newsletter.
Lake levels, rainfall, and a Crop Production Services’ ditch are monitored.
Officers are Craswell, president; Bill Strandquist, treasurer; Tom Berggren, secretary; all of Dassel.
Collinwood Lake Community Association
Lake Collinwood has a surface area of 584 acres and a maximum depth of 28 feet. The association represents 109 properties.
The association treats the lake with copper sulfate for excessive algae growth and acts as a watchdog for abusive pollution practices. It monitors lake level and rainfall, and also is a member of the Wright County Association of Lakes, as well as Meeker County’s association. The association has a newsletter which is published once a year.
Officers are Jeff Peller of Dassel, president; Sonny Nelson of Dassel, vice president; Cathy Bergemann of Cokato, secretary; and Dorothy Halvorson of Dassel, treasurer.
Big Swan Area Lake Association
Big Swan Lake’s surface area is about 628 acres and its maximum depth is 32 feet.
The association includes 93 properties and monitors lake level. The association’s officers are Linda Thompson, president; Jerry LeVoi, vice president; Nancy Iverson, secretary; Jan Grossman, treasurer; and Dave Thompson, Meeker County Area Lakes representative; all of Dassel.
Lake Jennie Improvement Corporation
Lake Jennie has a surface area of 1,056 acres and a maximum depth of 15 feet. The corporation represents 100 properties and is working to form a lake improvement district for water quality and lake improvement projects.
The association monitors lake level and rainfall.
Its officers are Pete Kerber of Victoria, Mike Wendolek, and Mike Kotila, both of Dassel.
Manuella Lake Association
Bob Schwingler, Manuella Lake Association member, checks for clarity and water level for the DNR. He also monitors Sucker Creek for clarity, temperature, and depth for the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency.
This year, there is “exceptionally clear water in the lake and creek, but it’s causing an extreme weed growth, allowing for minor algae formation,” Schwingler said.
There is also Eurasion milfoil that is being treated, but it is spreading and growing, according to Schwingler.
Lake Manuella has a surface area of 286 acres and a maximum depth of 51 feet.
The association monitors clarity and water temperature, transparency, water level, and rainfall. The association also has a neighborhood crime watch and a web page link at www.mnlakes.org.
The association is looking for volunteers to become members of the board. If interested, contact Schwingler at (320) 693-7599.