(Editor’s Note: The following has been submitted to the Patriot Newspaper by a member of the BLCLA).
A sized-down assembly of the Big Lake Community Lakes Association (BLCLA) gathered at the Carousell Works last weekend for their annual meeting. The session, attended by about 25, was significantly reduced in size from previous year’s gatherings of over 100, held at Russell’s. But, two years of COVID-19 restraints can do that.
Board member Jay Meyer said membership in the group is down to about 80, from its usual 100+; persons needing to submit $50 payment for memberships can contact Meyer at 612-366-6761.
Mark Boeckman of the BLCLA led a discussion on resumption of stocking fish into the two lakes. Stocking of walleye was eliminated a few years back, but the fish remains a favorite of those with the angling poles. Boeckman reported the two lakes, due to their structure, are unable to help walleye propagate; the species needs rocky bottoms and flowing waters, neither of which are unique to Big Lake and Lake Mitchell.
“We need to look to other species,” he said. “But, if the membership wants walleyes, that’s the way we’ll go.”
Walleye stocking has been done for a 14-year period, ending recently. Boeckman reported 65% of the BLCLA membership noted their support for some stocking programs. Big Lake Council Rep. Kim Noding said walleye stocking is a good investment to draw in anglers from out of town; persons who spend money.
“We’re a bass lake,” suggested Board Member Karna Lundquist.
It was noted that attraction of out-of-towner fisher persons also attracts the spread of invasive species of plants and mussels, something the group has fought hard over the past years. But Eurasian Mil-foil, a curly leaf pond weed and now Zebra Mussels, have made their way into the waters. There is no stray stonework in the local waters, however.
Boeckman said he will take group comments to future meetings with the MnDNR.
The BLCLA is continuing with several AIS containment programs, to include boat inspections at Lakeside Park. Six hundred hours of manned boat inspections were planned for 2021. The Sherburne Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) and BLCLA also contribute hours to the inspections.
The BLCLA will continue in its work with the DNR to provide treatment of mill-foil and pond weed. By DNR rules, the group can only treat 15% of the surface water of the lakes each year. Land home owners wishing to treat weeds can also do so on their own, by securing a DNR permit and paying for the product or service. Details are available through the DNR.
The group will continue to do its open water monthly water clarity and quality sampling and also will take part in a county-wide volunteer program whereby residents help with boat inspections at other public landings.
Fran Gerde with the SWCD spoke to the group for 25 minutes, outlining proper shoreline treatments with rock, timber and native plants. She noted a natural design to a yard abutting the lake will only have a 10% runoff rate, whereas a more developed yard will have a 35% runoff rate.
She showed slides of native flowers which work well in shoreline projects.
“We’re here to make people more aware of these things,” she said.
Due to aggressive shoreline projects in the past, Big Lake and Lake Mitchell have “pretty good water quality”. Gerde said. She stressed the use of native water plants and flowers in shoreline projects, noting their root systems grow deep into the lake bed. The county, she said, does have a 65-70% cost-sharing program for lake owners doing such projects. Readers can get a hold of Gerde at the SWCD office, 763-220-3434.
The assembly re-elected the five-member board, to include Keith Benker, Scott Ralph, Lundquist and Meyer. Four positions on the board are open. The annual membership dues of $50 was approved to continue. Meyer can be emailed at: firstname.lastname@example.org.