MN boaters are required by law to:
Good day, fellow Long Lakers,
Once upon a time, the Hunts (I and my family) were naive newcomers to Long Lake and promptly broke nearly every water quality rule in the book. We were unaware that 33% of all lakes in Minnesota are un-swimmable, unfishable, and unrecoverable and we set out in our ignorance to increase that percentage.
Confession #1: Building a campfire on the shore. Early on, I thought, what could be nicer than a crackling fire down by the shoreline? Turns out nothing is nicer if you are a hunk of algae or a bed of noxious water weeds. Wood ash is full of phosphate and the growth of these unwanted forms of life explode when exposed to phosphate. They are waiting for the ash to flush into the lake during the next rainfall. It is now understood that a lake with high phosphorus disturbs its natural "immune" system and makes it much more vulnerable to an attack of Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS).
Confession #2: Lake hopping back to Long Lake. Before I heard of the devastating effects of AIS, our family would canoe down Turtle River and then bring the canoe back to our AIS-free Long Lake. In hindsight, this was playing with disaster because Eurasian milfoil can reproduce from a 1-inch long fragment. Two little zebra mussels can fit end-to- end across George Washington's neck on a quarter! It simply is not possible that every mussel will be found every time on every watercraft that enters Long Lake. A fragment of starry stonewart can grow into a mass that has the same effect on a boat propeller as does a nylon net. I salute the Long Lake families I know of who made the incredibly crucial decision to stop their long-time traditions of cruising on other lakes and then re-launching into Long Lake within the same boating season. Those families join the many others who embrace the Long Lake Pledge.
Items that can transport AIS include bait water, fishing tackle and gear, jet skis, inflatables, rafts, boats, trailers, motors, anchors, canoes, sailboards, paddleboats, kayaks, sailboats, pontoons, toys, life jackets, boat lifts, docks, and diving platforms.
Confession #3: Performing damaging watercraft maneuvers. More than 15 years ago, while pulling my son on a watersled behind our jet ski, I decided to make tight circling maneuvers to see if he would fall off. This happened only once because I saw the tremendous waves that raced across the lake and smashed into the shoreline. It surely disrupted and possibly destroyed some waterfowl nesting sites. Running watercraft at full speed close to the shoreline is not a clever idea for the same reason. It is also important to reduce speed when going through the 'narrows' to avoid damaging the beaches of your fellow Long Lakers.
Confession #4: Disturbing wildlife. During the same time period, I saw young folks on the lake chasing baby loons in power boats. Loon chicks cannot dive when very young and they also tire easily. In righteous indignation, I paddled to the property and chewed out the parents. The very next week our son's friend did the exact same thing. I also gave him a tongue lashing, but I should have instructed him ahead of time about our duties to protect our wildlife. We are responsible for our family and guests. Loons prefer solitude, particularly at nesting time, and intentional harassment of nesting birds by irresponsible jet skiers and boaters may cause them to abandon their nests. Our loons are protected by the federal Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918.
Confession #5: Fertilizing with phosphorus. It never occurred to me early on that regular lawn fertilizer that washes into the lake is a major threat to water clarity. Since 2005, fertilizers containing phosphorus cannot be used on lawns and turf anywhere in Minnesota unless some special situations exist (mda.state.mn.us/phoslaw). On the fertilizer bag, look for the middle number. A zero in the middle means the fertilizer is phosphorus free and that is the one to use.
Confession #6: Trespassing on the fabulous east end beach. Eight years ago, I paddled my granddaughters and their parents to the incredible beach on the east end of the lake. We beached the canoes and climbed up on the berm to take in the view. I remarked to my son-in- law that this was federal land. Wrong! Not until two years later did I learn that this shoreland is private property. So sorry! The berm is relatively thin and with erosion from continued (illegal) foot traffic, there is a significant chance that the berm will be breached. If this happens, the swamp behind the berm will no longer serve to filter the runoff water that flows into the lake at that location. We must remember that all Minnesotans have unrestricted access to all surface water but have no right to put as much as a toe on the shore.
Confession #7: Salting the water. This is a tough one. Just a teaspoon of road salt pollutes 5 gallons of water—forever. There is no easy way to remove the chloride. We Minnesotans dump 730 million pounds of salt on our roadways every winter. Once the salt reaches our lakes, it doesn't just flush downstream to the ocean. Salt water is heavier than fresh water so it simply sinks to the bottom of the lake and stays there and affects all aquatic life. In addition, Minnesotans use a great deal of salt in their water softeners. I buy close to 25 40-lb bags of salt over the course of the year. This half ton of salt migrates with the septic water down to the water table over time. Assuming similar use by the 120 houses around the lake, we Long Lakers are sending approximately 60 tons of salt into our ground water every year. We'll be drinking salt water from our wells at some point in time. Our household recently installed a system that softens by demand instead of a set timer. We need to be on the lookout for ways to reduce salt contamination further.
Confession #8: Bugging boat launch owners. There is no public boat access on Long Lake and it is nearly impossible to launch from my personal (ramp). Even though I clearly knew this when we bought our Long Lake property. I used to randomly and frantically approach fellow Long Lakers with no prior notice to ask their permission to use their ramps. I turned my zero lack of planning into their problem. Not cool. I am happy to report that your Association Executive Committee has developed a system that brings much more organization to the launch/retrieval process. We have set up arrangements with certain property owners who have volunteered access to their ramps under specific conditions. For example, these owners maintain all rights to deny access to any individual without reason. Many have other specific conditions for use of their ramps. Please contact Larry Ellingson or Karin Snortland (see your Long Lake Directory) to be put in contact with one of the participating ramp owners at least two weeks before you need access. I'm guessing that lack of courteousness and thanks will equal no future access.
Please note: The Association also creates an annual list of boat trailer owners willing to lend their equipment. This keeps AIS from sneaking in through commercial vendors. The list is announced through an email message so be sure to contact us (firstname.lastname@example.org) to make sure your name is on the list.
Confession #9. Inadequate contact with newcomers. As President, I have not kept up with touring properties around the lake to welcome new property owners or renters. Your Long Lake Association Executive Committee members have graciously offered to help. We'll each take a section of the lake, but we are not storm troopers, nor enforcers, nor tattlers. Long Lakers will save their paradise only through mutual cooperation and education. Whether or not you are a member of the Long Lake Association, please notify the member (see your Long Lake Directory) assigned to your area of new arrivals so that the Association can welcome them properly:
-- Hilltop Drive: Jerry Fiat;
-- Long Lake Drive NE (from east end of Marcella Dr to Hilltop) and adjacent sideroads (Jay Court, Moonlight Court, and Uffda Lane): Karin Snortland;
-- Violet Court, Cranberry Court, and Marcella Drive: Diane Winter;
-- Esther Lane, Loon Lodge Lane, Grimes Lane, Birchmont Beach Road: Curtiss Hunt;
-- Birch Haven Court and Waterview Court: Chuck Meyers;
-- Oman Road proper to end, Balsam Bough Lane, and Mystic Road: Larry Ellingson;
-- Berry Road and Howling Wolf: Jane Carlson.
So, there is my lengthy list of confessions. I feel much better already! Thank you for your patience and have a great season at the lake.
To keeping our lake pristine,
Here are some links to videos of some AIS (there are at least 50 more species):
A watercraft inspector with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) inspects a boat exiting a lake and finds aquatic invasive species (AIS) attached. DNR officials say it's a scenario they experience far too often in their efforts to curb the spread of AIS.
“DNR and its partner organizations are working hard this summer to prevent boaters and anglers from transporting invasive species, but we're continuing to see new infestations and are still finding boats and trailers carrying AIS,” said Col. Ken Soring, DNR Enforcement director.
The latest incident occurred Aug. 2 as a boat usually operated on Lake Minnetonka was exiting Lake Bemidji. Lake Minnetonka is among approximately 300 bodies of water in 53 Minnesota counties designated as infested with AIS. Lake Bemidji is not. The watercraft inspector found Eurasian watermilfoil and zebra mussels attached to the boat trailer. The DNR conservation officer cited the boat operator who now faces a $500 fine.
Nearly 150 watercraft inspectors are stationed around the state this summer to help stop the spread of AIS. "Watercraft inspectors and conservation officers are doing their job in getting voluntary compliance with AIS laws, but the real success is going to be won when each and every boater takes personal responsibility," Soring said.
A recent road check at St. Croix Bluffs Regional Park in Washington County found 21 percent of the 62 vehicles with watercraft or water-related equipment checked were violating state AIS laws. A road check near South Long Lake in Crow Wing County found seven of 22 vehicles with watercraft or water-related equipment inspected resulted in an AIS violation rate of 31 percent.
According to the DNR, once zebra mussels are established in a body of water, they can multiply and impact both the ecology and the recreational experience of people using a lake or river. They are often transported from lake to lake by boaters. The mussels are only about the size of a finger nail, and their larvae microscopic, making them tough to find. They have been discovered in various lakes across the state.
More information is available at www.dnr.state.mn.us/invasives/index_aquatic.html.
Long Lake QuaranTEAM EventsIn lieu of our usual social gatherings, the LLA has organized some fun social activities that people can enjoy while maintaining a safe distance. Thanks to Matt Johnson & Erika Bailey-Johnson the following events have been scheduled (weather permitting) 1. Saturday, June 6th: Hike the back trails to Turtle River Lake; Meet at 9am at the intersection of Marcella and Cranberry Court (you can park your car along the side of the road); It is about a 5.5 mile trip; feel free to turn around whenever you want; Prepare for ticks and mosquitoes! 2. Saturday, June 20th (Summer Solstice Serenade): The Johnson Family will sing a song from their dock at 7:30pm. The Johnsons are on the southwestern shore of the lake on Cranberry Court. The song is about five minutes long. If you would like to participate by sharing your musical talent, please contact email@example.com by June 15 with your location and a performance time between 7:45 p.m. and 9 p.m. that day. If you just want to be serenaded on the solstice, come out and listen either from your boat or on your dock. 3. Saturday, July 18th: Silent Sports rally; Peddle or paddle your non-motorized watercraft! The Johnsons (8636 Cranberry Ct NE) will start paddling towards the island at about 10am. They will plan to arrive at the narrows on the west part of the island around 10:30 (depending on wind, etc.). Feel free to join them for a counter-clockwise paddle around the island or turn around at any point. Please wear your lifejacket.
Event: CANCELLED Welcome Back Wine and Cheese
Hosts: Fred & Pat Pick (8090 Esther Lane NE)
Bring: Appetizer to share!
Event: Annual Boat Parade
Decorate your boat a bit (doesn't have to be fancy) and gather at the south end of the lake.
Post-parade gathering: CANCELLED Nancy Fischmann's beach (9312 Marcella Dr. NE)
Hosts: Chuck & Merilee Meyers
Bring: Cookies/bars and family!
Event: Long Lake Annual Association Meeting
Hosts: POTLUCK CANCELLED Doug & Candy Schultz (9143 Marcella Dr NE).
Bring: Chair for yourself and a dish to share!
Event: CANCELLED Fall Hot Dog Roast
Hosts: Mike & Kathy Jay (8926 Cranberry Ct NE).
Bring: a side dish or dessert to share!
The Loons of Long Lake—June 17, 2015
NOTE: Refresh page to obtain current weather info below.
Adapted from a May 24 MPCA Press Release
With many Minnesotans now performing the time-honored ritual of opening the lake cabin for the summer, there are several things they can keep in mind to protect lakes and streams from pollution: