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Tuesday, October 17, 2017

2017 Annual Report


Birch Lake Improvement District



2017 Annual Report



Birch Lake is a shallow suburban lake with an area of 123 acres and a maximum depth of 6-8 feet.  It is considered to be one of the healthiest lakes within the Vadnais Lake Area Water Management Organization (VLAWMO).  Concerns over maintaining the quality led lake property owners to petition the City of White Bear Lake to form the Birch Lake Improvement District (BLID) in 2006.



A board of directors elected by improvement district members governs the Birch lake Improvement District.  Current members are: Dale Bacon, Chair; Ryan Hoops, vice chair; Steve Laliberte, secretary, Tom Merritt, treasurer and Jim Grisim, member at large.  The board is responsible for implementing the Birch lake Sustainable Lake management plan.  These responsibilities include activities such as coordinating scientific studies on lake water quality, maintenance of recreational use of the lake and communication to the membership regarding threats to lake quality.



During 2017, the following activities were carried out by BLID:



The annual cleanup day was held on May 6, 2017. 



BLID members continue to participate in VLAWMO Citizen’s Water Monitoring Program.  This involves taking biweekly lake water samples and making water clarity and lake level readings.



During winter months, BLID operates an aeration system to prevent complete fish kills from oxygen depletion.  Muskrat tunneling under the compressor enclosure resulted in system failure at the end of the season.  The system has been relocated and reinforced to prevent future disruptions.



Several BLID board members maintain Minnesota DNR certification as a lake services provider.   This training focuses on preventing the movement of invasive species from lake to lake.



BLID is supporting VLAWMO to develop a chloride baseline to help better understand the potential impact of road salt on the lake.  This involves conducting chloride analysis on monthly water samples taken at the four major inflow points on the lake. 



Approximately 1000 largemouth bass and 500 crappies were stocked in the lake in Spring 2017.



BLID provided monetary support to VLAWMO to provide extra maintenance to the restoration project on the north shore of the lake.



BLID has joined with VLAWMO and the City of White Bear Lake to investigate remediation of the wetland area located in the NE corner of Otter Lake Road and 4th Street.  This area receives storm water runoff from a surrounding area.  An engineering study conducted by Barr Engineering recommends that an iron sand filtration system be installed to remove phosphorous prior to discharge into Birch Lake.  VLAWMO has submitted a grant application to the Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources to cover $97000 of the total project cost of $127000.



VLAWMO has initiated a yearlong program to establish a baseline of the phosphorous input from storm water flowing through the wetlands.  This project utilizes automated storm water sampling technology to sample after rainfall events.



A number of factors such as a mild winter, early ice out and a warm spring again contributed to excessive aquatic plant growth in the lake.  The 2017 harvesting program was carried out by Warner Outdoor services.   The permitted level of harvesting (30 acres) was reached after about seven days of harvesting.  The 2017 harvesting activity did not result in a lasting improvement in the recreational use of the lake.



A quarterly newsletter is published in both print and electronic format.  The BLID blog at  BirchLakeImprovementDistrict.org is operational.  The goal is to communicate primarily by electronic format.



The tenth annual BLID meeting was held on June 15 2017.  Twenty-two of the 63 parcels in the district were represented.  The 2018 operating budget of $19,000 was approved by the membership for submittal to the White Bear Lake City Council.  Dale Bacon and Ryan Hoops were reelected to three-year terms.

The next annual meeting is June 20, 2018.



Submitted for the BLID board by Dale Bacon, Chairman

October 11, 2017

Friday, June 17, 2016

2016 Annual Meeting

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Call to order at 7:04PM with the following board members were present:  Dale Bacon, Ryan Hoops, Steve Laliberte, Tom Merritt, and Jim Grisim.  

A total of 22 members were in attendance constituting a quorum.

Motion (Grisim/Krueser) Move to approve agenda.  Motion carried.

Motion (Hoops/Grisim) Move to approve the minutes of 2015 Annual Meeting.  Motion carried.

Treasurer Report: 

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Merritt presented the proposed budget.  The budget is similar to the prior year.  The levy will not change.  There is currently a reserve of $22,000 for harvester replacement and $6,000 for general operating needs.

TOTAL INCOME
 13,000.00

Budget
Aerator

    Aerator electricity
 300.00
    Aerator Maintenance
 500.00


Administration

   Stamps & Copies
 600.00
   Admin secretary
 1,300.00


BLID Insurance
 750.00
Weed Harvester

   Harvester Repairs

   Tune up
 1,000.00
Weed Cutting Operations
 4,000.00
   Harvester DNR Permit
 125.00


Miscellaneous

  Special Projects

    Fish
 3,000.00
    Restoration site maintenance
 1,000.00
    Monitoring
 1,000.00


TOTAL EXPENSES
 13,575.00


Surplus/Deficit
 (575.00)





Motion (Nash/Krueser) Move to approve the Treasurers Report.  Motion carried.

Year In Review:
Bacon reported on state of the BLID. 

Water level is high.

Publish quarterly newsletter and updated the blog at www.birchlakeimprovementdistrict.org.

We conducted a water sediment to monitor the level of salt in the lake.  Salt levels are high but below level of concern.

Operated the aerator over the winter

Weed harvester was painted.  The weeds did not require harvesting due to high water.

Several board members participated in a city planning activity for non motorized transportation plan development.


2016-17 Plans
Weed harvesting – we will begin cutting in three weeks.  The permit has been requested and Aspen has been retained.

Harvester is updated with new hydraulic hoses.

We will continue to participate in non motorized transportation with the goal of acquiring funding from Ramsey County and the City of White Bear Lake to add a pathway on the north bound lake of Otter Lake Road along the east shore of Birch Lake.

2016 Budget Review:
Motion: (Laliberte/ Krueser)  Move approve the budget. Motion carried.

Election:
Steve Laliberte is up for re-election for board member.
Motion (Krueser/Bacon) to elect the board member.  Motion carried.

Adjournment
Motion to adjourn  (Auger, Grisim) Motion carried.

Meeting adjourned at 8:50 PM

Next annual meeting June 14, 2017

Minutes prepared by Steve Laliberte


Friday, January 15, 2016

Seen Around Birch Lake

Winter is wonderful on Birch Lake.  From migrating birds to enjoying fun on the ice.  Here are some photos of winter activity.

Snow Bear




Duck Duck Snow Goose



Best Hockey Rink



Currents


The BLID installed an aerator in 2002 after a severe winter fish kill.  The purpose of the aerator is to oxygenate the water during the winter to ensure that the fish don’t suffocate from lack of oxygen in the water. 
I always thought that shallow lakes would freeze out when the ice got so thick that there was not enough water left.  That was what killed the fish.  In researching the aerator, I leaned that the real cause is lack of sunlight.  A high snowfall winter is actually more dangerous than a cold low snow winter.  Here is why.  Birch Lake is weedy.  Weeds grow all year long including the winter.  If the weeds have enough sunlight, they grow and produce oxygen.  If the snow and ice get too thick, the sunlight is blocked.  Instead of growing and creating oxygen, the weeds die, rot, and consume oxygen.
So, how effective can an aerator be if Birch Lake is 100 acres and the aerator keeps less than ¼ acre open and oxygenated?  I discussed this with fishing pro and naturalist Larry Dahlberg, the host of Hunt for Big Fish on the Outdoor Channel.   
Larry explained that the aerator would only save the fish within a certain radius of the aerator.  It would ensure that some fish survive and be a spawning stock for the fish population to recover - unless there was a current in the lake.  A current would move the water and carry the oxygen across a larger portion of the lake.
I always wondered if there were still currents in the lake.  Most of the natural water flow was cut off when the construction of Highway 96 separated Birch Lake from the water inflow on the south side.  The construction of North Birch Lake Blvd. cut off the out flow on the north side.
This winter I was able to observe something interesting.  The mild winter and low snowfall has made it easier to see where currents are be operating.   The first thing I noticed is that there is a line of melting snow that stretches from the culvert on North Birch Lake Blvd. to the aerator.
Here is an areal view from over the aerator.  You can actually see the flow lines.


Looking north from the aerator you can see the flow to the culvert on North Birch Lake Blvd.



The flow goes directly to North Birch Lake Blvd.  Sure enough, the water was flowing out of the culvert to the Rotary wetlands.





I also noticed that much of the shoreline adjacent to the Rotary Park wetland was full of water.  The culvert opening is small in comparison to the volume of water attempting to get out.  I began to wonder if the water is flowing out by seeping through the fill of the road. 

On my way over to the culvert I noticed something odd.  There is an in-flow of water from a sping at the Cloisters.  There is a current line from the cloisters to the aerator!









 The following picture is taken from the Cloisters facing south toward the aerator.

 
The last question that came to mind was why would the flow run through the aerator?  The aerator may act as a breather for water movement.  Have you ever poured gas into your lawnmower without opening the breather on the gas can?  The gas does not flow.  When you open the breather it clears the vaacum and lets the gas flow.  I think the opening in the lake caused by the aerator is like a breather.  The ice is putting pressure on the lake.  The water wants to flow out but can’t.  The aerator releases the vacuum and allows the water to flow.
What do you think?

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Boat Launch and Removal to Open for Birch Lake Homeowners


The launch site that was developed to provide access for the weed harvester will be opened for homeowners for a spring launch and fall take out.

The spring date has been set to coincide with the lake cleanup day, Saturday May 7, 2016.  Lake cleanup will take place from 9:00 AM until noon.  The boat access will be opened from noon until 3:00 PM. 

Homeowners are welcome to launch their boat.  The access is level and has concrete into the water.  No more risk of getting stuck!

Owners are reminded to observe the DNR week control rules.  There will be an inspector present.

Boaters are required to complete three main actions before leaving the access or riparian property.

1.     Clean off the boat by removing all plants, mud, debris and organisms from the exterior and interior of the boat (including angling equipment and the anchor).

2.     Drain all water from the boat and other water related equipment, including bait water.

3.     Pull the plug (it must remain out during transport)

Please make sure that your boat is clean and dry to help ensure that no invasive species are introduced into the lake.  Also make sure you pull the plug before you transport the boat. 

The boat launch is located on South Birch Lake Blvd. near the Otter Lake Rd. intersection.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

2016 BLID Calendar


February
02-17-16 -- Quarterly board meeting

April
04-20-16 -- Spring Board meeting

May
05-07-16 – Lake Clean Up and Boat Launch Day

June
06-01-16 -- Quarterly board meeting (first Wednesday in June)
06-15-16 -- Annual meeting (third Wednesday in June)

August
08-17-16 – August Board meeting


September
09-14-16 -- Quarterly board meeting (third Wednesday in September)

November
11-02-16 – Quarterly board meeting (first Wednesday in November)

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Board of Director's Meeting December 9, 2015


Call to order at 7:03 PM with the following members present:  Dale Bacon, Steve Laliberte, Jim Grisim, Tom Merritt.

Motion: (Grisim/Merritt) Move to approve agenda.  Motion carried.

Approval of the minutes
Motion: (Grisim/Merritt) Move to approve the September 17, 2015 minutes.  Motion carried.

Review Treasurer’s Report
Motion: (Laliberte/Grisim) Move to accept report.  Motion carried.


Reports

VLAMO Update
Focus on 3 impaired water bodies.  Gem Lake, Wilkinson and Gillfilan.

Sustainable Lake Management Plan Update
We will update the lake management plan. 
BLID 10 Year Event
There is general interest in a community event.  We discussed possible party near Super America or a pontoon event.
Lake Group Meeting Dates
April 15 and 16 is the State of the Waters meeting.  Dale will attend. 
2016 BLID meeting dates
May 7th to be clean up day and boat launch day.  We will announce this in the January newsletter.


Motion: Move to Adjourn (Merritt, Laliberte) – Motion Carried.  Adjourned at 8:43 PM.

Next Meeting:  November 5, 2015

Minutes prepared by Steve Laliberte.