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Thursday, February 22, 2018

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


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

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


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.