Water Quality

Curlyleaf Pondweed Treated Areas (May 5, 2023)

curlyleaf pondweed treatment areas map

The BEAA has an established mission to protect and improve the water quality of Bald Eagle Lake. The most recent aquatic vegetation point intercept survey of Bald Eagle Lake (DOW #62000200) was completed on September 13, 2021. Plants were present throughout the lake to a depth of 2.7 meters (9 feet). Within the littoral zone (zone in lake from the 0-15 foot depth range (0-4.5 meters), 57% contained native submersed taxa. The average number of native submersed taxa per sample point was 1.6. Sixteen submersed taxa were observed during the 2021 survey (see Summary Table below for historic data summary). In spring of 2014 and 2016, the lake was treated with alum (organized by Rice Creek Watershed District [RCWD]) to reduce internal phosphorus, increase water clarity and improve submersed aquatic vegetation growth and has achieved these goals. 

Bald Eagle Lake has has four invasive aquatic plant species which include: submersed plants Eurasian watermilfoil (Myriophyllum spicatum abbreviated as EWM), curly-leaf pondweed (Potamogeton crispus, abbreviated as CLP), and emergent plants flowering rush (Butomus umbellatus) and purple loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria). The maximum depth of water is 11 meters (37 feet). Approximately 54% of the lake is littoral. Water clarity has historically fluctuated in May through September but has observably improved since the alum treatments (see Table 1-Secchi Averages below for historic Secchi disk observations). 

In 2017, the Rice Creek Watershed District (RCWD) announced that a water quality project was completed on Bald Eagle Lake under the leadership of Master Water Steward volunteers Gary Krejcarek and Mike Hermann.

The project included a rain garden and shoreline stabilization at the former West Avenue boat launch site that will reduce the volume of stormwater runoff and pollutants entering the lake.

Stormwater from roads that used to flow down the abandoned boat launch and into the lake will now enter the rain garden. The water will be slowed down, temporarily held, and absorbed. Because rain gardens are designed to absorb all water within 48 hours, there is no increased risk for mosquitoes. 

Stormwater runoff is the water that runs off roads, driveways, buildings, and other hard surfaces after it rains (or snows). This water collects pollutants such as oil, pesticides, fertilizer, and soil and transports them into waterways. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency states that stormwater runoff is considered one of the greatest threats to water quality and a leading source of water quality impairment. 

Removal of the barriers and installation of the rain garden have also beautified the space. The high visibility of the project location provides an opportunity to educate the public on water quality issues. The project was championed by RCWD Master Water Steward volunteers Krejcarek and Hermann. Krejcarek is a longtime resident of the area and past president of the Bald Eagle Area Association. Hermann recently graduated from University of St. Thomas in Environmental Studies and serves on the Mahtomedi Environmental Commission. Both men were required to work on a water quality improvement project as part of the Master Water Steward program. They were excited to be involved in such a dynamic partnership.

The Master Water Stewards program is an education and outreach program designed to provide citizen volunteers with the knowledge and skills needed to improve water quality at the local level. The program was developed by Freshwater Society in 2013; RCWD became a partner and sponsor in 2016 along with Capitol Region Watershed District and Ramsey-Washington Metro Watershed District. Each Master Water Steward must participate in coursework, commit to 50 hours of volunteer service for water quality in the first year and 25 in subsequent years, and complete a capstone project in their community. RCWD currently has four Master Water Stewards.  

2022 applications for the next class of Master Water Stewards is closed. Please stay tuned for next year. If you have questions, please visit https://minnesotawaterstewards.org/application-page/. 

This project is the result of a collaborative effort between Rice Creek Watershed District, Ramsey Conservation District and White Bear Township.

Presentation to the board by Rice Creek Watershed District in Oct '23 can be found here