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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