Vol. 3, Issue 1, Spring, 2002
Agenda for the meeting:
· Update on current projects of the Association
· Report on walleye stocking in Gilbert Lake
· Report on water quality testing of Gilbert Lake over the past three years
· Signage at public access
· Report on Initiative Foundation opportunities and Minnesota legislative update -- Dan Meyer
· Group pricing on septic pumping – report by Dave Schaeffer
· Demonstration of Lakescaping CD on computer -- Dave Ellingson
· Elect Officers for upcoming year
· Future association projects or events
· Summer party?
· Miscellaneous business
Last year we met on May 7, 2001 and the Association discussed these subjects and took the following action:
· Discussed problems with high water on the lake and the possibility of a no-wake zone in the channel to Gilbert 3
· Approved raising annual dues to $20
In May, 2001, Tim Brastrup from the DNR released 250,000 walleye fry into Gilbert Lake. The stocking was part of a multi-year test program in the state to see if walleye stocking can be successful in non-traditional walleye lakes like Gilbert. Walleye fry are very small, with 50,000 swimming in a five-gallon container. Survival rates are typically under 1%.
Tim reports that the DNR plans to do the same stocking again in 2003, and then make decisions about long-term stocking plans.
The DNR conducted shock testing last fall to see if any of the walleyes survived. Come to the meeting to learn the results!
Water quality levels on Gilbert Lake declined in the summer of 2001 compared to the previous two summers.
An overall measurement of water quality is the TSI (Trophic State Index), indicating where a lake is in its lifespan. The higher the index, the worse the condition of the lake (algae blooms, etc.)
In 2001, the average TSI for Gilbert was 40, while it was 38 in 1999 and 37 in 2000. Phosphorus levels in Gilbert Lake were significantly higher in 2001 than in previous years. We don’t know whether this increased eutrophication of Gilbert is a normal fluctuation (e.g. caused by last year’s high water) or an initial sign of more decline. In any event, we must all take efforts to protect our lake from further decline.
Fortunately, there are many simple steps we can do:
§ Minimize use of any fertilizers. Absolutely do not use any fertilizers containing phosphorus. One pound of phosphorus can stimulate the growth of 500 pounds of algae! The amount of phosphorus is the middle number on fertilizers, so look for fertilizers with zero in the middle (for example, 10-0-10)
§ Maintain a vegetation buffer strip along the shore. Do not plant grass to the edge of the water, as lawn grasses do not stop the overflow of water into the lake as well as native vegetation (the Lakescaping book and CD show examples of what to do).
§ Minimize the size of your beach. Though nice to play on, sand beaches easily erode. A thirty foot beach is usually enough.
§ Minimize the removal of aquatic vegetation. Aquatic vegetation, especially emergent vegetation (lily pads, bullrushes), break the wave action that erodes the shoreline.
§ Keep boat traffic away from the shores. Large wakes erode the shoreline, bringing phosphorus and sediment into the lake.
§ Regularly pump your septic tank. Septic tanks quickly fill with fine solids, plugging the drainfields. Not only will regular pumping help the lake, it will also save you money. Replacing a failed drainfield is expensive. Septic tanks may have to be pumped every year or two, and more often if you use a garbage disposal.
§ Encourage your neighbor to help keep Gilbert Lake clear!
Having a "buffer zone" at the edge of your shoreline is the solution to reduce erosion, algae blooms and poor water quality, according to the authors of the DNR book Lakescaping for Wildlife and Water Quality. A buffer zone is a strip of natural vegetation along at least 75% of a property's frontage. The goal of creating the buffer is to restore the shoreline with the native vegetation that was originally there, such as wildflowers, shrubs, grasses, and aquatic plants. The benefits of a buffer strip are many, as it:
· Acts as a filter to help prevent fertilizers and pesticides from reaching the lake
· If planted with native plants, doesn’t need any fertilizer
· Helps reduce shoreline erosion by slowing down and absorbing the water flowing toward the lake
· Keeps geese away from your yard, because they don't like tall grasses and wildflowers
· Reduces homeowner maintenance because it doesn't need to be mowed
Without a buffer strip, nutrients such as phosphorus can reach the lake and encourage weed growth and algae blooms.
Best of all, creating a buffer strip means less mowing and lawn work for you!
Copies of the Lakescaping book will be available at the annual meeting at a reduced price for Association members ($12 –retail $20)
· NEWSLETTER PRODUCTION. We can use someone who is willing to put together this newsletter. Right now, it won't be anything more than an annual event. It would be great if someone could help produce it more often.
CREATION OF A GILBERT LAKE ASSOCIATION WEB PAGE. We can base a web page at Consolidated Telephone's web site for free. Web pages are quite easy to create with today's software, and it would be nice to have a place on the web where all lake information could be posted or accessed. We could also have links to all the DNR data about Gilbert Lake -- lake maps, lake data, fisheries information, etc.
Gilbert Lake Association
c/o Paul and Sally Jacobsen
16118 Birchwood Lane
Brainerd, MN 56401
JOIN THE GILBERT LAKE ASSOCIATION!
Please come to the annual meeting or return the following to
16118 Birchwood Lane, Brainerd, MN 56401
Sign me up as a member -- $20 ________
Make check payable to the Gilbert Lake Association