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Friday, November 7, 2014

Fall 2014 Aquatic Plant Harvesting

Aspen Outdoor Services completed the weed harvesting on Birch Lake during the first week of August.  Prior to the harvesting activity, Aspen also refitted the conveyor system on the harvester with new conveyor tracks.
This year, the harvesting activity consisted of opening homeowner access where needed, removal of dead plant material, and cutting and removing nuisance vegetation. The focus was on improving the recreational value of the lake while maintaining the aquatic habitat.  The higher than normal high water level helped to reduce the amount of nuisance vegetation that needed to be cut.
Harvested plant material was deposited at the Ramsey County Composting facility.

Fall 2014 Fish Kill Update

Blue Water Science conducted a fish survey on Birch Lake Sept 4-6, 2014, to determine the extent of fish kill observed after ice-out this past spring.  It was conducted during the same time period and at the same locations as the survey in 2011, enabling a valid comparison.
Although a final report has not been issued, Steve McComas, the principal of Blue Water, has shared a summary of his findings. Table 1 from the summary compares the findings of the 2011 and 2014 surveys.  With the exception of a lack of largemouth bass in the 2014 survey, the other fish populations are nearly the same for the two surveys.  As might be expected, the large number of dead bass after ice-out foreshadowed the lack of largemouth bass in the 2014 survey. 
While no bass were trapped in the survey, residents have recently caught several largemouth bass.  In any case, the bass population is very low.
The board reviewed the survey results and, based on recommendations from Steve McComas and consistent with the encouragement from residents at the annual meeting, elected to restock largemouth bass yet this year.  On October 16, 2014, about 2,000 fingerling largemouth bass were introduced into the lake.
Birch Lake trapnet results for the fish survey conducted in 2011 and in 2014 by Blue Water Science. Fish data are shown as fish per trapnet.

We can expect to see results from this effort in a couple of years.


What happened to the cattails? Why the celery plants on the shoreline?

Dale Bacon reports:
I walk around the lake at least once a day.  During these treks, I’ve noticed that the cattail and bulrush populations are way down from previous years.  In some spots, all that is left of cattails is the stubble from last year!  I’ve spent some time trying to determine what caused this.  A sudden explosion of muskrats? Yet another invasive bug??  I talked with Brian Corcorian of VLAWMO about this and learned that he has also seen this in other lakes.  He feels that the primary reason for the population decline this year is the higher than normal water levels we experienced during most of the growing season.  High water levels can prevent the growing tips of the cattail from taking in oxygen needed to support root growth.  Lack of oxygen during the growth period kills the plant.  “No need to worry,” he says, “there are plenty of cattail seeds in the sediment!”
While on the topic of aquatic plants, I’ve also noticed a lot of water celery plants around the shoreline.  I talked with Steve Enger of the DNR and learned that in the fall the water celery plants become more buoyant which, when coupled with wave action, causes them to be uprooted and float to shore!  Another of life’s burning questions answered!

Quarterly Meeting Minutes November 6, 2014

Call to order at 7:15 PM with the following members present:  Dale Bacon, Ryan Hoops, Steve Laliberte, and Jim Grisim.  Tom Merritt was absent.

Motion (Laliberte/Hoops) Move to approve agenda.  Motion carried.

Approval of the minutes  -
Motion: (Laliberte/Hoops) Move to approve June 5 minutes. Motion carried.
Motion: (Laliberte/Hoops) Move to approve July 17 minutes.  Motion carried.

Review Treasurer’s Report
Motion: (Hoops,Laliberte) to approve report.  Carried

Status Reports

Harvesting Painting Update
Not complete.  Aspen has the paint.  We are seeking another contractor to complete the job.

Buckthorn Removal Project
Completed treating about 100 plants.  After two months half are dead and the others showing stress.  We will do more next summer.

Fish Survey / Restocking Update
We are waiting for the final report from Blue Water.  2,000 bass each 6 inches long were planted in October.  They will be large enough to spawn in the spring.

Aerator Status
The aerator is running and the signs have been placed.  We need to purchase new signs.  The old ones are rotting.  Ryan will order some new signs.

Communication Strategy
Steve will post newsletter on neighborhood and the BLID blog.  There is a facebook page for Birch Lake.  We should take it over.

Steve to draft a communications plan on how we will use FB, Blog, email.

Building Birch Lake Through Social Service
Many residents prefer not to promote the lake because it attracts more usage.

Steve has extra aerator posts.  Jim has spare aerator motor, bubbler, and small ice signs.  We need to inventory what we own and where it is.  There may be harvester parts in Bret and Marine boat house. 
Rod Kruser may have a spreadsheet.

Motion: Move to Adjourn (Grisim, Laliberte) – Motion Carried.  Adjourned at 9:06 PM.

Minutes prepared by Steve Laliberte

Fall 2014 Chairman's Corner

By Dale Bacon