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Monday, June 11, 2018

Birch Lake Improvement District (BLID)
Annual Membership Meeting
June 20, 2018
7:00 pm, White Bear Lake City Hall

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Spring 2018

Chairman’s Corner
By Dale Bacon

Birch Lake Water Quality
   VLAWMO, the Vadnais Lake Area Water Management Organization, has released the 2017 Water Quality Report.  There are 12 lakes within the VLAWMO watershed that are monitored for key water quality parameters include clarity, chlorophyll A, and key nutrients such as phosphorus and nitrogen.  Jim Grisim, BLID board member and Board liaison to VLAWMO, volunteers to take biweekly samples on Birch Lake throughout the summer.  Commercial laboratories analyze the samples.
   VLAWMO staff analyzes the data to arrive at a Tropic State Index for each lake. The tropic state refers to the level of nutrients and plant growth in a lake.  Oligotrophic refers to lakes with low levels of nutrients and plant growth.  Eutrophic is the other end of the scale with excessive nutrients and plant levels.  Eutrophic lakes are generally not useable for recreational use. Mesotrophic is in the middle of the scale, reflecting a balance between plant growth and recreational use.  VLAWMO has chosen to simplify the index by using an A-F scale.  Birch Lake is classified as Mesotrophic with a grade of B+
   The board has requested that VLAWMO monitor the lake for chloride levels.  The chloride level in lakes can be toxic to aquatic organisms.  The chloride level is a result of runoff from road salt use.  Current chloride levels show that the levels in Birch Lake are higher than other lakes in the watershed but still below the state standard.
   Birch Lake continues to be one of the clearest and cleanest lakes in the VLAWMO watershed.  Projects such as the phosphorus removal filter (see related story below) and lakeshore restoration help to ensure that the lake’s status is maintained for future generations.
Phosphorus Reduction Filter
VLAWMO has received a $97,000 grant from the Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources to install a phosphorus removal filter to treat storm water runoff entering Birch Lake.  This project is a cooperative effort between VLAWMO, the City of White Bear Lake, and BLID.  BLID has agreed to provide in-kind maintenance support.
The filter technology was developed at the University of Minnesota.  The concept is fairly simple:  the storm water runoff flows through the sand filter, which has been augmented with iron filings.   As storm water runoff travels through the filter, soluble phosphorus in the runoff adsorbs to iron oxide present on the iron filings surface.  A similar filter in Maplewood has achieved 90% removal of soluble phosphorus. 
The filter will be located in the wetland area at the NE corner of 4th Street and Otter Lake Road.   Drainage from this wetland flows into Birch Lake.  Monitoring studies done on behalf of the BLID have shown that this is the largest source of phosphorus loading to the lake.  The filter is estimated to remove about 8 lbs. of soluble phosphorus per year; this will help to stabilize the phosphorus levels in the lake.
The project is scheduled to begin this summer and should be completed by the end of the year.

Birch Lake Water Levels

2017 was a much drier year than 2016.  According to the Minnesota State Climatology web site, total rainfall for 2017 was 30.80 inches.  The total for 2016 was 42.71 inches.  The mean rainfall for the period of record is 29.42 inches. 
The water level in Birch Lake tracks rainfall amounts:  2016 lake levels hovered around the 920.00 feet msl (mean sea level) mark.  Water flowed into Rotary Park for most of the year.  2017 started out with lake levels near 920.0 msl and gradually fell to the 919.5 msl. There was intermittent flow into Rotary Park during the second half of the year. Exact level data for parts of 2017 are unavailable due to gaps in the DNR database. 

The historical lake level chart for Birch Lake shows that the level was fairly stable during the years 2014-2016.  Limited data shows a drop off in 2017.   The old timers have seen the lake go through cycles such as this.  The worst of times have seen the lake 3 feet lower than it is today (see 2010 on the graph, as an example).

Photo Corner
Photos of scenes to come, yes!!
Mysterious” birdhouse appeared at south end of Rotary Park walk

Send your favorite photo for the next newsletter to

If you have questions or want to get regular updates from BLID please send your email address to:

Monday, May 7, 2018

Minutes 2/21/18

Board Meeting Minutes

February 21, 2018

7:00 pm, White Bear Lake City Hall

Call to order at 7:04 PM Members present were: Dale Bacon, Steve Laliberte, Jim Grisim, Tom Merritt, Ryan Hoops, Deb Vernon, Terry Huntrod and Nick Voss from VLAWMO

1.      Approval of Agenda

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

2.    Approval of Minutes

Motion: (Grisim/Merritt) Move to approve Nov 1, 2017 minutes.  Motion carried.

3.    Treasurer’s Report

Motion: (Hoops/Grism) Move to approve Treasurer Report.  Motion carried.

We have received the first portion of the tax levy.

4.      Status Reports


        2 annual reports were returned because no one is currently living at those addresses.

        Deb researched when the terms of office started.  Tom Merritt term is up in July.

        Standard operating procedures

                    SOP should be presented to the board for review. 

                         Done are Aerator use and permit application, how to develop the action calendar, How to do the Annual Report, Minutes, Notice of Meetings.

                         Need to do Position Responsibility (each office is to do theirs), Treasure duties (Tom is working on that), Spring lake clean up (Jim is working on it), Weed Harvesting Permit, Contract requirements (Steve and Jim), Lake access.

Aerator System

        Is functioning

        We received a bill from the paper.  The bill was paid in advanced.  Steve will give Deb the bill.  


        Nick Voss VLAWMO Education and Outreach Coordinator

(651-204-6070 )

Nick talked about doing Picture Posts around the lake. A citizen science project to study environmental changes over time. Members would take photos of the lake and upload to a website.  

He also talked about doing Adopt a Drain.  Nick will let Dale know where the drains are located around the lake. 

Steve and Dale will look at doing this and present the proposal to the board at the next meeting

      Phosphorus removal project

Location is 4th and Otter lake Road.  The hope is this will be installed by the end of the year.  When this is done it will have a drain that needs to be cleaned monthly.  (Adopt a drain)

                 Annual Report

2017 Water Monitoring Report is out.  See VLAWMO website.  ( )

The automated storm sampler on 4th and Otter Lake Rd showed very high nutrient level during storms.  Birch Lake is still below the State standards. The Phosphorus removal project should help to improve this.   Lake is at a B+ grade. 

5.      Action Items

Annual lake clean-up day

Jim will take the lead and work on putting it in a SOP.  Katie Piehl sent an email to board about getting scouts to help out.

 2018 Weed Harvesting Program

Steve and Jim will work on SOPs for doing a permit for harvesting and a contract for harvesting.  Permit is good until September when it is approved by DNR.  DNR does not approve it until weeds show that they need to be harvested. They will talk to DNR about getting permit early since we seem to always need to cut.  They will also try to figure out a better way to have the weeds cut (mark the lake with buoys?).  They will report to the board at the next meeting.

 Annual meeting

Meeting is June 20th. 

Treasurer term is up – Tom is considering retiring from that position. 

Dale will ask Nick from VLAWMO to come and talk about Phosphorus removal project, picture posts and adopt a drain.

Terry Hunstrod is interested in helping out on the board.

Deb Vernon would be interested in taking over the treasurer spot if Tom decides to retire.

6.      Communication


For now we will use email, Nextdoor (  and Blog (


          Dale and Tom are working on one for the Spring.

7.      General Discussion

Lake Vegetation survey was done in 2015.  Fish survey was done in 2014.

City wants to connect Hwy 96 path with S. Birch Lake (where the path in the grass already exists.)

Otter Lake Road will not be done until 2019 or 2020

Next Meeting will be April 25th at 7 PM in Conference Room on 2nd floor (Not enough officers here in March)

8.      Adjourn at 8:50

Motion: (Grisim/Merritt) Move to Adjourn.  Motion carried.

Minutes done by Deb Vernon

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Minutes 11/1/17

BLID Board of Directors Meeting
November 1, 2017

Call to order at 7:05 PM with the following members present:  Dale Bacon, Jim Grisim, Tom Merritt and Ryan Hoops, Deb Vernon

Approval of Agenda

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

Approval of Minutes

Motion: (Grisim/Bacon) Move to approve the September 20, 2017 minutes.  Motion carried.


Treasurer’s Report

Motion: (Hoops/Bacon) Move to accept report.  Motion carried.


1.     Admin update

Organized files and upload electronic ones to Google drive

Updated Member list – still working on getting more emails

Created a 2018 action calendar

Created a SOP template and did a few

2.     VLAWMO

They are cleaning out Sucker Channel (It is off Hwy 96 past Cub)

Next month they are going to discuss the grant

3.     Ramsey County

GIS site has made a change to the South end of the lake

4.     White Bear Lake
       Hearing on the budget generated a lot of positive comments about BLID

5.     Aerator Operation

The permit was filed.  The aerator is working, the stakes are in.  Jim will check with Steve about doing the posting that is needed to turn it on.  Jim will move the extra pump into the new shed. 


1.     Newsletter/website

Working on articles for the newsletter

Talked about hosting a website and decided for now Deb will post new stuff to blog and to Nextdoor lake front group.

2.     2018 harvesting

We can harvest 50%.  We will try to get the permit as soon as ice is out and weeds are up.


Motion: Move to Adjourn (Grism/Bacon) – Motion Carried.  Adjourned at 7:45 PM.

Next Meeting:  Wednesday February 21, 2018 7:00 PM. 

Minutes prepared by Deb Vernon

Friday, November 3, 2017

Minutes 09/20/17


September 20, 2017
Call to order at 7:05 with the following members present Dale Bacon, Steve Laliberte, Jim Grisim, Tom Merritt, Deb Vernon

1.     Approval of Agenda. 

Motion to approve Steve/Tom.  Motion approved
2.     Approval of Minutes. 

Steve passed them out.  Motion to approve Dale/Jim. Motion approved.
3.     Treasurer’s Report. 

Tom passed out report.  Motion to approve Jim/Dale.  Motion approved.
4.      Updates:


An automated sampling has been installed for next year.

Invasive Species Research at U of M.

Dale attended a conference.  There is a new mil foil, it is a hybrid and more resistant to chemicals.

City of White Bear Lake

 Next year we will send the Pin # to the city.  Should be 63 members.       
      5.     Action Items

Admin Priorities

            1. Member List

            2. Email addresses

                        Tom will send the Cloister emails

            3. Standard Operating Procedures 

4. Need for a laptop. Dale will check with his son.  Deb took all the old files off and put them on a flash drive because the notebook could not open the documents.

            5. Dale will introduce Deb to the city staff. 
     6.     Discussion Items

State of Lake

Weeds are still there.  Dale talked to the guy from the U of M.  It might be good to harvest earlier.  Want to make sure we do not cut too much.  Folks are seeing fish and lots of frogs.

      2016 Plant was done

      2015 Fish


Need to look at SLMP plan.

DNR does not recognize lake management plan because it was done by VLAWMO. Jim will check to see if we should updated.  

Budget hearing

Oct 24 at 7PM. Board members should attend.  Steve will do presentation. 

Annual Report

      Dale has a draft.  Must be in by Oct 15 

Piehl Project

Agreed amount was to pay for electrical and $1500 for shed. Costs were $1698 for electrical, $5000 for shed, $5500 for landscape.  Nic sending invoice, BLID cost is $3198 


      Jim applied for the permit. 

7.     Adjourn

Jim/Tom motion at 8:05.  Motion approved.

Next meeting is Nov 1,, 2017 at 7 PM

Minutes done by Deb Vernon

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 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

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: 
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.



    Aerator electricity
    Aerator Maintenance


   Stamps & Copies
   Admin secretary

BLID Insurance
Weed Harvester

   Harvester Repairs

   Tune up
Weed Cutting Operations
   Harvester DNR Permit


  Special Projects

    Restoration site maintenance



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

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.

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

Motion to adjourn  (Auger, Grisim) Motion carried.

Meeting adjourned at 8:50 PM

Next annual meeting June 14, 2017

Minutes prepared by Steve Laliberte