In addition to setting the WLCA events calendar we look forward to another year of promoting lake health through management, surveys, research, and education. Our top priority as a conservation association is the health of Weaver Lake. We continue our longstanding work with Limnologist and Aquatic Ecologist James Johnson on surveys, status, and current issues.
2017 will begin with the annual spring curly leaf pond weed survey to determine any areas still heavily infected and help us develop a plan to withhold treatment for the season or where we should treat accordingly. The past few years have seen a successful decrease in the littoral area affected and a decrease in density of the curly leaf growth throughout the lake. Due to water temperature and growth stages, a 2nd curly leaf survey will be conducted in late-May when curly leaf is at its peak prior to dying off by mid-June. In order to stay on top of any additional invasive species threats a 3rd late-summer survey will thoroughly search the lake for anything harmful or problematic. In addition to the James Johnson professional surveys, we began working with Aquatic Invasive Training Specialists thru Hennepin County last summer to educate Weaver Lake volunteers on how to spot and identify invasive species. We plan to continue this program going forward and will post additional opportunities for those interested as they are offered to us.
Defending our lake against invasive species is an ongoing battle, which at times in the past has been detrimental to the native plants of Weaver Lake. Recently these native plants have been resurgent and are a healthy asset to the water quality, nutrient cycle, and overall ecosystem of the lake. As these native plants thrive they can create a navigational nuisance and restrict recreational use of the lake. Please be aware the Minnesota DNR has rules and regulations to protect aquatic plants in public lakes such as Weaver. In short, the only time a permit is not needed for removal is “as a lakeshore property owner who wants to create or maintain a swimming or boat-docking area, you may cut or pull submerged vegetation such as Elodea, without a DNR permit under certain conditions: First, the area to be cleared must be no larger than 2,500 square feet. Second, the cleared area must not extend more than 50 feet along the shoreline or one-half the length of your shoreline, whichever is less. A boat channel up to 15 feet wide, and as long as necessary to reach open water, may also be cleared, through submerged vegetation.” Any additional removal or treatment must have a DNR permit. For further information refer: http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/shorelandmgmt/apg/regulations.html or contact the board with any questions.
We continue to work towards the reduction of phosphorus loading into Weaver Lake to decrease the amount of algae. Last year’s algae presence was heavy in numerous Minnesota lakes and has brought the topic back to our regular discussions. Adopt-a-Drain program is underway to help clean and maintain the numerous street run-off locations in our watershed affecting the quality of Weaver Lake. In addition, we continue to educate area residents on the phosphorus increase that lawn clippings, leaves, pet waste, fertilizer, and sediment run-off brings to the lake. Research and outreach continues with other phosphorus defenses such as rain gardens, native plant restorations, and catch basins. We also are in discussion on the benefits of in-depth sediment testing to determine the levels of phosphorus and alternative ways to combat it and the algae it produces.
We successfully brought our fish stocking fund over the minimum threshold last fall and were able to stock 220 tiger muskies in November prior to the lake freezing over. This process was similar to the stocking of tiger muskies in 2014 and should enhance the Weaver Lake fishing experience for years to come.
As a board we have mainly focused on current issues, events, and progress the past few years. We plan to continue this, but also feel a long term management plan should be set in place to help lay the framework for future boards and its members going forward. We plan to work with James Johnson on this plan and hope it helps prioritize our goals for Weaver Lake and the mission of the WLCA.