Lake Mgt Plan

Maple Lake-Lake Property Owners Association

 

Lake Management Plan

2009-2014

 

 

 

VISION: A management plan that will provide long-range direction, sustainable decision-making, flexibility, and cooperation from all stakeholders to address the concerns and needs in a timely sensitive manner.

 

MISSION: A renewable plan to provide high quality sustainable practices of excellence to protect, maintain, and improve the water quality and value of Maple Lake as a resource for generations.

 

Introduction:

This management plan for Maple Lake is being developed to address long range, ongoing concerns and issues we are aware of at this time. This plan is intended to be a working document that will provide direction and aid in cooperative decision making for residents of the lake, members of the lake association, state organizations, county government, and the public at large with vested interests in establishing and maintaining high standards of water quality and sustainable use of this lake as a natural resource for generations to come.

The goals of improving the water quality will continue being sustainable because the Lake Association recognizes the need for yearly testing as a means for monitoring water quality.  The Board of Directors notes many changes have occurred over recent years. With this in mind the decision was made to develop a long-range (5 to 10 year) renewable and sustainable lake management plan. The Board’s intent is to review, evaluate, update, and improve this plan on a yearly basis.

Maple Lake has moved from a community of primarily seasonal homes (Estimated 30%) to one of permanent homes (51%) in the past fourteen years, and we believe this to grow to more than 70% of all lakeshore and lake view properties year round residences in the next 5-6 years. There continues to be improvement, additions or rebuilding of existing home-sites, along with the potential for additional building on undeveloped lakeshore and lake view property. This presents many new and different issues for the management of Maple Lake.

These issues include: maintaining high water quality, addition recreational use of the lake over longer more sustainable periods, shoreline management, education and communication with lake property owners, greater cooperation and partnerships with county and state organizations to do such things as identification and control exotic species, watershed management, septic updates/improvements, and fish management.

 

Geographical Characteristics:

Maple Lake is situated in the north central part of Wright County, between the cities of Buffalo and Annandale, Minnesota.  It is part of the Mill Creek Minor Watershed – 4.9 square miles, consisting of the Crow River, North Fork Watershed.  A total of  952,480 acres.

The lake covers 777 acres and of this acreage 396 acres are littoral. The lake is relatively deep with a max dept of 76 ft.

The lake has two public accesses:

- There is a city maintained public access on south end of the lake, off Highway 55. 

- There is an access at the county park on the northeast end of the lake off Co Rd 37.

The outlet is located on the western edge of the lake and discharges into drainage that continues to Ramsey Lake.

The land in this watershed is a mixture of agriculture (primarily crops), with some larger stands of deciduous trees.

Maple Lake provides opportunities for many uses by property owners and the general public. Both public landings are maintained by the DNR. On any given day during the spring, summer, or early fall, one can find people taking part in such water activities as: boating, water skiing, tubing, sail boating, jet skiing, canoeing, paddle boating, or fishing.  It is the home of fishing tournaments throughout the year, and in the winter there are numerous fish houses sprinkled around the lake.

 

The Maple Lake Board of Directors has determined seven goals along with the Lake Management plan to be essential. They have developed goals in each area and specific strategies to help achieve these goals. Some areas we are actively working on right now, others are in the future planning stages, and many are in need of historical documentation so future generations will know what and how we attempted to tackle the problems of our day.

 

I- Develop a Lake Mgt Plan:

The Lake Management Plan is intended to serve as a guide to protect, preserve and improve the land, water and biological resources of Male Lake. Implementation of this Plan should ensure the use and enjoyment of these resources, and provide a roadmap for future residents and board members.

 

Goal: Develop a management plan to serve as a guide and a tool for our lake improvement activities.

Strategies: 

a)      -Conduct surveys to profile shoreline owners understanding of the current lake conditions.

b)     -Meet with our Lake management consultants to help identify priorities. 

c)      -Attend Initiative Foundation Training on Healthy Lake Management and develop an action plan. 

d)     -Conduct a community wide facility planning session to identify concerns.

 

II-Water Quality:

This is truly the center-piece of our lake management plan. We fully understand the importance and need to maintain and improve lake water quality. We fully intend to continue their goals while increasing the water samplings number and content we test for. The association recognizes the many additional pressures put on the lake in recent years. Development has significantly increased and with more land to develop on or around the lake, this will continue to put more pressure on maintaining and improving water quality.

Improved enforcement of zoning and building rules brought about a more consistent and updated septic systems around the lake. The Board does acknowledge that sometime in the future the lake community is going to need to take a look at a much larger wastewater treatment plan, before the heavy use and increased population put unbearable stress on the water quality of Maple Lake.

 

Goal:   To maintain and/or improve the water quality in Maple Lake.

Strategies:

a)      -Test water quality on a monthly basis during the summer months.

b)     -Increase what we test for and maintain records for ongoing yearly comparisons.

c)      -Maintain monthly secchi disk readings throughout the year and share this information with the state.

d)     -Monitor water levels.

e)      -Analyze the data we gather each year on the state of the water quality in Maple Lake using this information to provide direction for planning.

f)       -Continue exploring septic options that can minimize the impact on drinking and lake water qualities in the Maple Lake Community.

 

III-Education:

This is considered one of the most important areas of need because the Board recognizes the importance of keeping all stakeholders involved in the process of informed decision-making. This requires communication with all parties involved on issues and concerns. Education is considered a corner stone to our public relations with lake property owners, state and county organizations, and other interested parties. We are providing education about what is happening to the lake, the actions we see important to address these issues, and information about what is good stewardship through our annual meetings in the spring. We also provide information sharing with newsletters (two to three per year), other mailings when deemed necessary by the Board and sponsorship of meetings whereby state, county, and local individuals and organizations can provide information, answer questions and in general inform us the members of issues, concerns, laws, best practices, and more knowledge for making informed decisions.

 

Goal:   To keep all stakeholders informed, knowledgeable, and involved in matters that impact the lake and surrounding areas.

Strategies:

a)      -Update Lake Directory every year.

b)     -Continue with 2-3 newsletters per year – informing membership of current issues, planned actions, and upcoming meetings.

c)      -Continue to develop an email database to more easily contact and communicate with members and others.

d)     -Form committees to learn more about issues, develop ideas and provide the knowledge necessary for constituents to make informed decisions. -Maintain working relationships with the DNR and County Commissioners to keep members informed of changes to rules, laws, and new information that members can use to improve quality of life and maintain our high standards of always looking at ways to improve water quality for the lake.

e)      -Use Lake Shore Captains as means to provide information and receive feedback from people directly to members.

f)       -Invite local, county, and state officials to present the most current information on issues, subjects, and concerns of the lake community.

 

IV-Aquatic Plant Management:

This has stepped to the forefront as one of the major concerns for the Lake

Association and other interested parties. The discovery of infestation by Eurasian Water Milfoil (EWM) in Maple Lake in 2007 has been a learning and action experience for all. This provided us with ideas, models, and time for us to generate interest in being a more active part in vegetation management. Through these first years membership stepped up and became involved with documenting sites of EWM through the use of our surveys.

 

The membership also recognized the need to raise money for a milfoil treatment fund.

As the lake association moved to the forefront in EWM management it became evident that we needed to consider vegetation management as a balancing act between:

-the importance vegetation is to maintaining sustainable aquatic life and

-the nuisance matted vegetation presents to lake users, property shore owners, and, the

impact this has on natural vegetation and fish populations which needs our protection also. The Lake Board recognized the need for a subset of individuals to become knowledgeable and capable stewards in our practices of EWM management. To this end a committee of six people took on this charge. This provides us with a group knowledge set that can be shared and passed on to newer members joining the group.

During the summer, fall and winter of 2008 into the spring of 2009, this committee learned what needed to be done, how to do it, and the equipment we would need to provide treatment for EWM on Maple Lake.

With the cooperation of the DNR & Initiative Foundation, providing Maple Lake with grant money and a knowledge base we could explore and learn from, our Milfoil Committee has developed a plan to provide treatment for over 7 acres of  milfoil in 2009.

 

Goal:   To develop a long term, renewable aquatic plant management plan that aids in the control of EWM and encourages the development and growth of natural vegetation.

Strategies:

a)      -Develop a yearly management plan for EWM to identify needs, determine treatment options, and provide treatment earlier in the year to obtain maximum benefits of the treatment.

  1. a.      Measure results.

b)     -Continue to conduct whole lake vegetation survey to establish a blue print of what the lake looks like now.

c)      -Establish core group of individuals on the milfoil committee, adding new members regularly with a plan for the future.

d)     -Continue partnership with local and state units to work together providing information, expertise, support, and knowledge about needs and updated technologies.

e)      -Do ongoing EWM surveys throughout the year to provide good data that can be used to develop yearly treatment plans.

f)       -Review Lake Association investments needed to allow committee members to do lake plotting of EWM & CLPW.

 

 

V-Fish Management:

Where there is water in Minnesota there are fish. The cleaner and healthier the water is the better the fishing will be. So it stands to reason if we are so invested in establishing and maintaining clean water in Maple Lake, we are also supportive of maintaining and improving fish populations. We recognize fishing is a very important part of the culture of Maple Lake.

The area DNR Fisheries Department has conducted numerous fish surveys over the years, and has been responsible for stocking of Maple Lake and developed an action plan for fish management. They have provided much information and knowledge to the lake community. This plan needs to detail our belief that fishing and fish management is a very vital part of any lake management plan.

 

Goals: Support and be active members in the local Minnesota Fisheries plans for monitoring and managing the fish populations in Maple Lake.

 

 

 

Strategies:

a)      -Support fish surveys.

b)     -Stay informed of the fish populations and what we as association members can do to support fish management.

c)      -Develop stocking programs and fishing contests that highlight the lakes strengths.

d)     -Maintain open communication with the DNR and support their fish management plans for the lake.

 

VI-Shoreline Management

This may be one of the defining pieces of this lake management plans that we are able to look at five, ten, twenty years down the road and determine how effective stewards of the lake we have been. This is part of the lake management plan that does hold significant importance, because each property owner assumes responsibility for implementation. Shoreline management practices currently have a significant impact on runoff, filtering of waters entering the lake, and

maintenance of shoreline and their structural importance to the lake.

The association will continue to promote and support efforts by local and state organizations to enhance shoreline management. To this end the Lake Association will continue the practice of education for property owners by sponsoring speakers, joining the DNR in sponsoring and developing lakescaped properties around the lake, and providing in-kind services to achieve this end.

 

Goal:   Encourage development of improved shoreline management practices.

Strategies:

a)      -Provide continued education and updates about lakescaping and shoreline management.

b)     -Support plans and encourage projects that enhance and provide for stabilization of lakeshores.

c)      -Provide resources in the way of plans, nurseries that provide high quality stock for planting (be sure plants are intended for lake).

d)     -Share books, CD’s from the DNR, and videos we have or know about.

e)      -Provide in-kind services to encourage the sponsorship of projects by local and state organizations.

 

VII-Communication:

This is one of the more important tools we have as a community and association to become better organized, informed, committed, and connected. The waters of Maple Lake touch us all. We have a very common thread that we have chosen to be a valuable and very important component in our lives. It is by choice we are all gathered in this community surrounding this great body of water. This is one of the few natural resources that truly facilitate bonding at a community level. We are just that a community of Maple Lake. The fact four different townships intersect in the Lake, or that some would rather fish than ski, or swim than sail… all things we do connected to Maple Lake are dependent on the water. That is the focus of our conversations when we gather to talk about what we should or need to do to protect our one shared and valuable resource. This requires communication amongst all people with interests in Maple Lake. A lake management plan cannot be complete unless we define how and what we are going to talk about and how we plan to facilitate communication between us. For it is through communication we have heard the stories of Maple Lake and we will share the stories with future generations.

 

Goal:   To develop more direct lines and means of communication with all people concerned with the life, health, and well being of the Maple Lake Community.

Strategies:

a)      -Find ways to get information out in a more timely manner.

b)     -Provide up to date current contacts for members.

c)      -Use Shoreline Captains to gather information and provide communications to the members directly connected to them.

d)     -Look at ways to increase information in newsletters.

e)      -Conduct surveys to get more and better feedback that can help the Board make better decisions.

f)       -Improve and update regularly the Maple Lake Association Webpage.  www.MapleLakeonline.com

g)      -Develop more effective emails lists.

h)     -Provide area newspapers with more information about things happening on or to Maple Lake.

i)        -Maintain open ongoing dialogues with local, county, and state organizations.

 

 

VIII-Watershed:

The development of a Watershed District or Lake Improvement District has come up in several conversations with county and state officials. The Board sees this as a vital tool that needs development to further our goal of maintaining and improving water quality for generations to come. We recognize this as a very specific organizational tool to better manage water quality before it reaches our lake.

 

Goal:   Assist in beginning development of this idea.

Strategies:

a)      -To continue conversations with the Wright County

b)     -Determine interest, help information of committees.