BEAA 2023 Annual Meeting Summary
2023 Bald Eagle Area Association Annual Meeting Summary
10/19/23 – 7 p.m. at Boatworks Commons, White Bear Lake, MN
President, Meg Rapheal, opened the meeting at 7:00 pm and introduced guest speakers, Steve McComas of Blue Water Science and Matt Kocian of the Rice Creek Watershed District. Board members in attendance included Meg Rapheal, Joe Boeser, Carole Moore, Deb Donovan, Sue Wade, Jack Jungbauer, Laura Shepler and Jenn Anderson.
MATT KOCIEN – Rice Creek Watershed District (RCWD)
Water Clarity- Alum Treatment:
Matt opened his presentation with the statement that water quality is based on phosphorous content, water clarity and algae growth. Bald Eagle Lake phosphorous load increased in 2022, but was still much better than in previous years. Our phosphorous levels are also much better than neighboring lakes, Peltier and Centerville. Our water clarity was highest in 2016, after the alum treatments. The standard for water clarity is around 4.3 feet. Bald Eagle Lake exceeded that. Before the alum treatment, Bald Eagle Lake was listed as “impaired”. We are now in the midst of getting the lake “de-listed” as impaired.
RCWD collects sediment samples annually to compare data from prior years. RCWD and the DNR are studying the data to determine if the lake would benefit from a “booster” alum treatment in some areas that weren’t as heavily treated in 2014 and 2016. Treatments were concentrated in the deepest parts of the lake. The lighter dose areas are showing increased phosphorous in the sediment samples, particularly in the 15’-25’ depths. In most areas treated, phosphorous levels are down 50%. Studies continue to determine if treating the 15’-25’areas would provide any benefit. In the model designed to predict outcomes of the first alum treatment, all indicators were a “go”. More study is needed before initiating an alum booster treatment.
Alum treatments are expected to be effective for 20 years. Bald Eagle Lake is half way through that time frame. It’s likely that the deeper parts of the lake will remain okay, but the shallower areas may require more treatment. There was a question about whether better water clarity increases weed growth and Matt responded that water clarity does increase weed growth, but that the plants help stabilize the sediment, provide fish habitat and plankton that eat algae, so lake plants are ecologically beneficial.
The RCWD is assessing the need for some work on the ditch east of Hwy 61, near Eagle Brook Church. It needs maintenance. One option is to dredge it out, but new research from the U of MN may offer some other solutions to enhancing its functionality. Another option would be to put in an iron/sand filter similar to the one along Lake Avenue across from Four Seasons Park.
Water Levels and north weir/dam:
Matt stated that RCWD is not in charge of the weir controlling outflow from Bald Eagle Lake, but he offered some background information. The dam was reconstructed in 2014-2015. There was some concern then about who “owned” the dam and was responsible for repairs. The city of Hugo, RCWD and the DNR rebuilt the dam. The dam is not adjustable and the level of it was designed to be identical to the old one. The data shows the old and new structure function identically. There is no way to change the amount of water flowing out of Bald Eagle Lake to the north. If modifications were requested, it would be the DNR’s role to make any changes.
How lake residents can help keep Bald Eagle clean:
- Installing raingardens or doing shoreline restoration projects
- Keeping storm water drains clear of debris
- Becoming a “master steward” and getting involved in projects like the rain garden installation on West Bald Eagle Blvd and West Street.
Steve McComas – Blue Water Science
Curly Leaf Pondweed:
In 2023, Steve’s lake surveys showed we have curly leaf pondweed, non-native milfoil, flowering rush and we also have discovered some zebra mussel colonies. Steve conducts his survey in early May before the water temperature reaches 60 degrees. Based on the survey results, the weed growth can be predicted and then treatments are planned. In 2023, 69 acres were treated for curly leaf pondweed compared to only 25 acres in 2022. The area of treatment changes annually, depending on weed growth. The treatments/herbicides are generally applied 11’-12’ from the shoreline. Surveys were conducted again on June 16th and the treatment was found to have been very successful. There were some questions regarding the increased weed growth this year. Steve responded that there was a big growth of native plants between June and August due to the lower water levels and high temperatures. This allowed more native plant growth. Coontail and Water Celery were very dominant in the shallow water. This native plant growth also varies year to year.
Since the 1990’s Bald Eagle Lake has had Eurasian Milfoil and Northern Eurasian Milfoil. Since the early 2000’s, we now have 3-5 hybrid variations. The hybrid milfoil is now the dominant species. Northern Eurasian Milfoil cannot be treated is now every rare in our 9000-year-old lake. It is very hard to determine which type of milfoil species is in an area. Even when they take the plants back to a lab to identify genomes, they are often surprised by the appearance of the plant versus the actual genome identification. Milfoil was surveyed in June. The lake has not been treated for milfoil since 2018. In August, there were some increased areas of denser Milfoil growth.
Flowering Rush was found on Bald Eagle Lake in 2013. It was hand-picked at that time and was continually hand-picked for several years. In 2023, it is no longer an issue.
There was a solo zebra mussel found on the south shore in 2018. The fall of 2022 zebra mussels were found north of County Road H2 on West Bald Eagle Blvd and this fall (2023) more were found along Hugo road, not far south of the Ramsey County Park and boat launch area. Steve stated that a zebra mussel infestation will change the lake. Water will become clearer and it then changes fish habitat. In Mille Lacs lake, which has zebra mussels, the big walleye have gone to deeper waters and eat the smaller walleye. Now the small mouth bass are prevalent in shallower fishing areas.
Kathy Fleming – Bald Eagle Lake Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) Coordinator
Kathy Fleming has been leading the volunteer efforts to help detect zebra mussels. She showed an example of the collection plates that were constructed by Jim Ascheman, with the help of both the Girl Scouts and the Boy Scouts. Volunteers would hang these plates off of their dock and check them regularly for any activity. They would report to Kathy every 2 weeks. If activity was discovered, Kathy would investigate further to determine if there were zebra mussels involved. In 2022, 11 zebra mussels were discovered on the West side of the lake. There were more discovered in 2023 on the East side of the lake on Hugo road and more along the east shoreline as docks came out this fall. The DNR predicted that if Bald Eagle got zebra mussels, they would most likely appear near the boat launch, due to boats that have been in other lakes.
Kathy stated that our efforts now need to go towards more education about how to prevent the zebra mussel population from growing, as it is clear zebra mussels are now here. Kathy stated we need to expand education so visiting boaters are aware that they could also be transporting zebra mussels on their paddle boards, kayaks, canoes, “lily pad” floating devices, etc.
Kathy Fleming is retiring from her role as the AIS coordinator. Dawn Hiniker will be taking over for her.
Jack Jungbauer – BEAA Treasurer
Jack gave a summary of the BEAA financials. In explaining the funds, he reported that our sources of income include dues payments, the annual dinner and donations. Our budgeted expenses include boat launch inspections, miscellaneous mailing costs, weed treatments and some legal and accounting fees. We also have been providing matching grant funds for shoreline restoration projects. The RCWD approves the grants and we piggy back on their process to award additional grants. RCWD provides 50% funding of a project up to $7500. BEAA provides 30% of the cost of a project up to $5000. For the last 2 years we have set aside $20k for these grants. In prior years, it was $15k. We have more applicants for these grants every year.
Meg Rapheal – BEAA President
Meg presented a summary of the BEAA 2023 goals and activities:
- Dues paying homeowners – 46% in 2023 (52% in 2022)
- Continuation of our Shoreline Restoration grant partnership with RCWD with a funding of $20K for BEAA matching grants.
- Continuation of the boat launch inspection participation – increased support to Washington County from $3,000 to $6,000 which covered an increase of planned inspection hours per weekend from 16 to 21.
- Continuation of our Zebra Mussel inspections. Fall 2022 Zebra mussel colony detected. Summary prepared by Kathy Fleming (see above).
- Kathy is retiring and Dawn Hiniker will be taking over Kathy’s role. Thank you, Kathy, for all your efforts over the last 6 years!!!
- Continued awareness/reminders of Minnesota’s Adopt-A-Drain program. Meg suggested this is an important time of year to keep storm water drains clear, as the leaves are coming down. Meg asked for any suggestions on how to enhance participation in keeping storm sewers clear.
- Assisted with White Bear Lake Community Education Children’s Fishing Night on the lake in June with assistance from Patty Hall.
Meg Rapheal – BEAA President (cont.)
- Effort to increase Website usage. We added page related to BEAA Organizations, as well as a page related to BEAA members’ businesses. Thanks to our volunteer web team, Kelly Moore and Melissa Telsrow!
- Continuation of Music on the Lake – great turnout on the weekend of the 4th of July (plan for July 6, 2024)
- Hosting our Annual Dinner at Dellwood (149 registered attendees) (2024 dinner will be April 25th)
- BEAA tried to set up a summer education program for children, with leadership by Steve McComas. Timing did not work out this year, but this will be a goal for 2024.
Meg introduced the current board members Joe Boeser, Carole Moore, Jack Jungbauer, Jenn Anderson, Deb Donovan, Laura Shepler and Sue Wade. Doug Mulder is retiring this year. Joe Boeser will become the Vice President. Brad Mason was introduced as a new member at large. Katie Philippi will be joining the board to follow Carole Moore for the next year. Carole will be done with her second 3-year term in October of 2024.
Meg made a motion to approve the slate of board members. It was seconded and a vote was taken. All approved.
The meeting was adjourned at 8:30 pm.