Herald Journal - Enterprise Dispatch - Delano Herald Journal
Local lakes in tip-top shape thanks to area lake associations
July 26, 2010

By Julie Krienke
Staff Intern

It is that time of the year again. The time when many of us can be found daydreaming about sunbathing on the beach or cruising around the lake in a flashy new boat.

The Delano area has three local lake associations that have been diligently working to better the lakes in our community and make them the best that they can possibly be for citizens.

So, next time you are on the boat with your family or fishing with your buddies, think twice about what you can do to help the lake associations keep area lakes clean.

Lake Independence

Lake Independence Citizens Association (LICA) is a 20- year-old organization with 12 active members. The board was originally formed in response to the threat of milfoil infestation in the lake.

The main goal of LICA is to preserve and protect Lake Independence through education, advocacy, and community involvement.

According to Dave Appelhof, board president, the organization’s focus is to improve the water quality and lake experience of Lake Independence.

“We want to provide a lake environment that allows people to enjoy it for a multitude of reasons and to improve the lake experience,” Appelhof said.

Among the problems that LICA hopes to fight is the appearance of non-native weeds and algae that turn the lake green and soupy. The growth of these invasive plants could affect the native species of wildlife as well as recreation on Lake Independence.

LICA monitors the water clarity and water level to keep the lake clean for fishing, boating, and sailing. Lake Independence is also home to over 200 campsites, and the lake’s beach is open to the public.

In the past, LICA has received grants to build rain gardens, stabilize shorelines, and manage manure. Recently, the organization was presented with a grant from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) for shoreline restoration.

The City of Medina received a grant from the State Board of Water and Soil Resources Clean Water Legacy funds to improve the shoreline and stabilize the land of property owners on Lake Independence.

LICA is working to control algae growth and address the water runoffs that bring phosphorus into the lake.

“We have some issues to deal with, and we are working hard to improve the impaired status of the lake,” Appelhof said.

Officers for 2010 are: president Dave Appelhof, vice president Mike McLaughlin, treasurer Dick Larson, and secretary Marty Wilkes.

Board members include Lynne Bisagno, Kelly Donaldson, Kerry Pioske (honorary), Pat Wulff, Christian Dahlberg, Dick Picard, Barbara Zadeh, Randy Szarzynski, and Craig Olson.

LICA will host its annual meeting Thursday, Aug. 26 at the pavilion in Baker Park. For more information on LICA, contact Appelhof at (763) 479-0350 or visit the Lake Independence website at www.lakeindependence.org.

Fountain Lake

A recently developed organization, Fountain Lake’s lake association was started in 2007 because residents were concerned about a blue-green algae outbreak. The association was fueled by the urge to improve the water quality of Fountain Lake.

“Basically, we try to influence people to keep up their septic systems and not to fertilize,” Mike Bjorke, president of the association, said. “We do what we can as a small organization to help the water quality.”

According to Bjorke, the association takes a water sample each week and sends it to Wright County. This assists association members in observing what happens to the water quality each year.

Even though the association was just recently developed, members are trying to figure out ways to improve the lake and the water quality.

“It is pretty new, so we are just getting started and figuring out what we can do,” Bjorke said. “We’re just trying to maintain what we have.”

According to Bjorke, Fountain Lake is fairly small compared to others in the area, and it has a shallow bottom. Yet, the lake is recreational and is popular among duck hunters in the fall.

“The other lakes around the area have bigger problems than we do because they get fishermen, boats, and exotic weeds,” Bjorke said. “We are lucky we don’t have the issues that other lakes do because of recreation issues.”

According to Bjorke, the association fund-raised last spring to raise money for a lake specialist to come to Fountain Lake and give them pointers on how to improve the quality and clarity of the water.

“The association funds its activities through voluntary member dues and fund-raising events,” Bjorke said. “Members strive to be good stewards of the lake in hopes of maintaining its condition for future generations.”

With nearly 30 residents who live on Fountain Lake, the association has taken off exceptionally well in the past few years.

Current members include Ben Dye, Peggy Belbeck, Bill Fink, Debbie DeBeer, Mark Reitan, and Anna Durham.

For more information on Fountain Lake’s lake association, contact Bjorke at (763) 972-2751.

Lake Sarah

An Independence Day boat parade, summer picnic, garage sale, and ice fishing tournament are just a few of the activities that the Lake Sarah Improvement Association helps to organize.

Lake Sarah Improvement Association (LSIA) works to better the lake through the helpful assistance of local volunteers.

According to its website, the LSIA board of directors consists of volunteers from the local area who offer their time to promote safety, maintain the water quality, and control weeds in Lake Sarah.

Officers of the LSIA board were elected at the association’s 22nd annual picnic and meeting July 25. At this activity, the community had the opportunity to elect officers and learned about the current projects of the association.

According to its website, LSIA has recently worked to restore the walleye population of Lake Sarah by transferring nearly 90,000 walleye to the lake.

LSIA is also responsible for the Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDL) study, which began in 2005 to monitor the sources of nutrients that have entered Lake Sarah. According to its site, the organization is working to improve the water quality and nutrients by continually watching the phosphorus levels.

Joe Baker, who is up for election as the 2010 president of the board, says that LSIA organizes a number of activities including a beach buddy weed removal program, summer picnic, and a management of beaver dams surrounding the lake.

According to its website, LSIA also started the Outlet Restoration Project to better control the lake’s water levels. Thanks to grants and the willingness of local volunteers, the project has provided better control of water levels on Lake Sarah.

For more information on LSIA, contact Baker at (763) 479-1316 or visit the Lake Sarah website at www.lakesarah.com.

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