View From the Bench
By Tom Merritt
Bessie Birch Lake's Mystery Creature
By Dale Bacon
Tuesday, May 5, 2015
Birch Lake’s historical water quality readings are shown on pages 17 – 23 of VLAWMO’s 2014 report. This report also includes information on the all the lakes in the Vadnais Lake watershed district.
Here is the link to the MN DNR site that lists historical information on the water readings on Birch.
Every summer water samples and visual readings are taken by residents on Birch Lake. Twice monthly from May through September, samples and readings are taken and handed over to our watershed staff, VLAWMO, for processing and evaluation. The reason for the sampling is to monitor several lakes and ponds within our watershed that were identified as having local significance.
Although VLAWMO began the Citizens Lake Monitoring Program (CLMP) in 1997, samples have been taken on Birch and sent into the DNR and the MN Pollution Control Association since the early 1930’s.
The testing involves taking multiple water samples from varying depths, measuring visual clarity with a Seechi disk, noting recent weather patterns that may have affected the readings, and listing the water depth off the DNR calibrated depth meter. Birch Lake volunteers take the samples and document this information and then give it to VLAWMO staff for processing.
The data received from the monitoring of Birch Lake and 11 other lakes within the VLAWMO’s district are used by the Minnesota DNR and Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) to determine the health of the state's waters.
Water samplers come in all ages and levels of experience
As we all know, 2014 was a banner year for the water level in Birch Lake. The lake level started out at 919.01 ft msl (feet above mean sea level) and peaked at 920.82 ft msl! The water level was high enough so that water flowed into Rotary Park for most of the summer and fall.
While the lake level in January 2015 was 919.73 ft msl, less snow cover and a dry spring have resulted in an early June level of about 920.06 ft msl. This level is about 9 inches lower than experienced in early June 2014 but is still high enough so that water is currently flowing into Rotary Park.
Historically, the water level in Birch Lake peaks in the June –July time frame and recedes about a foot by the end of the year. While the lake level now is lower than last year, the June 2015 level is still about 2 feet higher that 2009!
May 2 was a busy day for BLID volunteers. In addition to the annual lake clean up, members participated in the White Bear Lake Arbor Day.
Volunteers first worked with City Public Works staff to plant a number of trees along Highway 96. The whole process was pretty easy. The City staff had dug the holes. All we had to remember was green end up!
The lake clean up followed the tree planting activity. About 10 volunteers were involved. The area along the walking path was picked up in less than an hour!
The tree planting was a three way coalition between the City of White Bear Lake, the BLID and the White Bear Rotary. Trees were planted along Highway 96 and in Rotary Park.
Thanks to all those who volunteered as well as to Super America and the City for providing refreshments!
Ryan Hoops, Dale Bacon, Steve Laliberte, White Bear Rotary Volunteer, City of White Bear Lake Employee, Cindy Hoops
By Dale Bacon
Hard to believe that it’s annual meeting time again! It seems like only yesterday that we were discussing our response to the 2014 fish kill! Since then, significant progress has been made in meeting the goals of the Sustainable Lake Management Plan. This progress, as well as plans for 2015 – 2016, will be reviewed at the annual meeting.
A key element of the annual meeting is the approval of the 2016 budget. Membership approval is required before the budget is presented to the White Bear Lake City Council.
Chip Welling, an invasive plant species expert from the Minnesota DNR, has been invited to present a “big picture view” of the invasive species problem in Minnesota and to cover potential impacts on Birch Lake. I’ve heard Chip present on this issue and have been impressed with his depth of knowledge and his ability to reduce it to something we all can understand! This should be a very interesting presentation for all!
I would like to encourage all members to attend the 2015 annual meeting. The BLID was formed to develop and implement projects that protect and enhance the environmental quality of Birch Lake. This is your chance to learn more these activities and to provide your input. Your views and concerns are valued! Birch Lake is your lake, and it is critical that BLID planning reflects membership values.
See you on June 17!
7:00 PM White Bear Lake City Hall