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Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Nesting Loons

One of the measures of the wildlife quality on Birch Lake is loon activity.

For a number of years, we have had a nesting pair of loons. 

This year I caught a picture of the happy couple with two babies. 

When I saw the loon from a distance I felt something was different.  The head did not look right. 

 This photo was take on June 12 at dusk.

As I got closer, it was not one head but 3.  The two babies were so young that they were still on moms back!

 By July 12, the babies had tripled in size.  They were swimming and fishing at a distance from mom and dad.

A closer look at the babies on July 12.  You can see that they are brown.  They are swimming and fishing and growing.

Board of Directors Meeting July 15, 2015

Call to order at 7:02 PM with the following members present:  Dale Bacon, Steve Laliberte, Ryan Hoops, Jim Grisim  Tom Merritt.

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

Approval of the minutes  -
Motion: (Bacon/Hoops) Move to approve the June 4, 2015 minutes.  Motion carried.

Review Treasurer’s Report
Motion: (Bacon/Hoops)

Harvester painting project
The paint job is complete.  The old paint was sand blasted.  16 gallons of paint were used.

The BLID owns a trailer for hauling weeds during harvesting.  This is only a few weeks per year.  A discussion was held regarding selling the trailer and renting it back. 

Motion (Laliberte/Grisim) Motion to sell the trailer to Rod Kruser for the fair market amount of $2,000.00.  Motion carried.

Officer Elections
Motion (Merritt/Hoops) President Bacon, Vice President Hoops, Treasurer Merritt, Secretary Laliberte.  Motion carried.

Brook Court Development Out Lot Discussion
There is a non buildable lot that is a holding pond for the development that flows into Birch Lake.  Bacon and Grisim met with Mark Birch of WBL and VLAMO to discuss a conservation project.
Harvesting plan for 2015
Wait for nature to tell us what to do.  Water is high so we don’t see the weeds.  We will tentatively plan for the last week of August.  We have the permit.

Boat Launch/Take Out Discussion
Motion (Grisim/Merrit) To have Dick Brink review the easement document to confirm that the BLID has the authority to open the easement twice a year for boat launch and take out for residents.  Motion carried.

Motion: Move to Adjourn (Merritt, Laliberte) – Motion Carried.  Adjourned at 8:07 PM.

Next Meeting:  August 20, 2015

Minutes prepared by Steve Laliberte.

Friday, July 17, 2015

2015 BLID Annual Report

Birch Lake Improvement District
2015 Annual Report
Birch Lake is a shallow, suburban lake with an area of 123 acres.  It is considered to be one of the healthiest lakes within the Vadnais Lake Area Water Management Organization (VLAWMO).   Concerns over maintaining this quality led lake property owners to petition the City of White Bear Lake to form the Birch Lake Improvement District (BLID) in 2006.  The following is a report of BLID activities during 2013 - 2014. 
The lake continues to be the clearest lake in the VLAWMO watershed.  Consistent rainfall throughout the year has helped to maintain near record lake levels.  High water levels also helped to keep excessive aquatic plant growth in check.  With the exception of a recovering largemouth bass population, lake wildlife is prospering.  The resident loons have once again produced a pair of chicks!  The shore line restoration area provides vivid color throughout the summer.
During 2014 – 2015, the following activities were carried out by BLID:
The annual lake clean-up day was held on May 3, 2014.  12 residents participated.  BLID members also participated in the city Arbor Day activities.  Trees were planted along Highway 96 at the south end of Birch Lake.
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 due to oxygen depletion. 
2000 largemouth bass fingerlings were stocked in Birch Lake in October, 2014.
The 30+ year old harvester was painted in July.  This was a part of the continuing maintenance program for the harvester.  The hydraulic hoses will be replaced during 2015 – 2016. 
After undertaking DNR training, BLID is now listed as a certified lake services provider.
In 2015, aquatic plant growth was not sufficient to interfere with recreational boating.  No aquatic plant harvesting was carried out in 2015.
The Sustainable Lake management Plan will be updated during 2015-2016 to reflect increased emphasis on issues such as road salt and invasive species. The original plan was written in 2008 and serves as a guide to lake management activities.
BLID is working with VLAWMO to conduct routine, monthly chloride analysis of the lake at the 4 major inflow points.  This will establish a chloride baseline which will help to better understand the impact road salt runoff on the lake.
A plant/sediment survey was carried out by Blue Water science In September, 2015.  One of the objectives was to monitor the Eurasian milfoil infestation.
BLID plans to conduct a member survey by the end of 2015.  This survey will be compared to the 2011 survey to help identify member needs and concerns.
A quarterly newsletter is published in both print and electronic format.
 The blog has been updated and made more accessible.  The address is
 The ninth annual BLID meeting was held on June 17, 2015.  25 of the 63 parcels in the district were represented.  The 2016 budget operating budget of $13,000 was approved by the membership for submittal to the White Bear Lake city council.  Tom Merritt was re-elected to a three year term.
The next annual meeting is June 15, 2016.

Submitted for the BLID board by Dale Bacon, Chair