White Iron Chain Of Lakes Association

News & Updates Blog
Jun
01

Gypsy moth aerial treatment - MDA

Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) gypsy moth aerial treatment project

Aerial Operation to Begin

The Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) is preparing to treat four areas in North Eastern Minnesota to eradicate the Gypsy Moths detected last fall before they spread. The location of aerial operations will be the cities of Cloquet, Duluth, Two Harbors and for an isolated block along White Iron Lake in northern Lake County (See Map Below). On Monday June 4th, the MDA is planning to begin aerial operations beginning as early as 5:15AM!  At this time the MDA is planning to treat all four NE MN blocks starting that day. Treatments are weather dependent and may be delayed at any time. If the weather cooperates the MDA could complete the first round of applications in one day; ending operations around the noon hour on Monday.  However if weather is not ideal for completion on Monday, operations will commence at 5:15 am on Tuesday, June 5.

NOTES from the MDA:  

  • The MDA will be utilizing a fixed wing aircraft that will be very low flying, approximately only 50 feet above the tree tops.  It will be loud.
  • The product being applied is a biological, organic certified insecticide that can be used up to the date of harvest on feed and food crops.
    • Foray 48B, active ingredient: Bacillus thuringiensis var. kurstaki (Btk).
  • It has no known health effects to humans, pets, birds, fish, livestock, and bees.
  • Residents can avoid the application by staying indoors during the treatment and keeping windows closed until a half hour after application. Any residue, which does not cause damage to outdoor items, can be removed with soapy water.
  • The low-flying fixed wing airplane will be traveling up to a half mile outside the treatment areas as it navigates through the gypsy moth infestation sites. Therefore, residents may see and hear the plane but will be outside the treatment areas. For the project the MDA will be utilizing two different aircraft.  Duluth: red/white aircraft, other blocks: yellow aircraft.

The MDA has been in contact with the local emergency management, including 911 dispatch in all three counties and the MN Poison Center to assure they too are aware of the project.  It is not uncommon during these low flying aerial projects for citizens to reach out to their local 911 dispatch.

To help area citizens stay informed, the MDA has set up an Arrest the Pest Info Line at 1-888-545-MOTH. The info line will offer the latest details about treatment dates and times.

The MDA's website (www.mda.state.mn.us/gmtreatments) also has information about gypsy moths, control efforts and the ability for individuals to sign up for an automatic email/text notifications.

This is the best way for citizens to follow the operational plan throughout the project.

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May
25

Twin Metals releases updated plans

Twin Metals announced on May 24th it will open an office in Babbitt and wants to locate its processing facility east of Birch Lake.

Twin Metals, a subsidiary of Santiago, Chile-based Antofagasta, said it has been conducting environmental studies for more than seven years in the area, though a formal Environmental Impact Statement process for the mine has not yet begun. The project is not as far along as the nearby PolyMet copper-nickel mine, which has been through the environmental review process and is now seeking permits from the state.

Twin Metals officials said plans to locate the processing site east of Birch Lake differs from previous proposals. Before, the company had planned to build it south of the Ely airport and west of Birch Lake. Company officials said mine employees will access the underground mine from the processing site. The facility would be built on about 100 acres of land owned by Twin Metals. As far as storage for its tailings, Twin Metals said about half of its tailings will be stored in the proposed underground mine as permanent cemented backfill, while the remaining tailings will be stored adjacent to Northshore's Peter Mitchell Mine, southwest of Babbitt. 

In addition, officials said opening an office in Babbitt will allow the company to reduce traffic to the mine site, because employees can be shuttled there. They expect the project will create 650 direct jobs.

 

 

According to a spokesperson for the company, the new project information does not represent the formal project proposal, and the information is subject to change as the project development process moves forward.

The company plans to submit a formal mine project proposal to state and federal agencies in approximately 18 months. 

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May
23

Shoreline Management – pushing yard debris in the lake

The DNR highly discourages individuals from dumping their leaves and grass clippings into a lake, river, or wetland. In addition, this material should not be raked into the street where it can wash into the storm sewer that drains to water bodies or watercourses. Leaves and grass clippings add nutrients that use up valuable oxygen as they decompose, on which aquatic organisms in the food chain depend.

There are alternative stewardship practices for disposing of leaf and grass clippings that are more environmentally friendly. The best way to dispose of this waste is to compost it either on your land or at a designated compost site in your community.

An excellent source of information on the environmental benefits of proper leaf disposal is a DNR publication entitled "Lakescaping For Wildlife and Water Quality" available from Minnesota's Bookstore; https://mn.gov/admin/bookstore/.

Reports of pollution or littering in public waters or public waters wetlands should be referred to the local DNR conservation officer, Minnesota Pollution Control Agency; https://www.pca.state.mn.us/ and county officials such as sanitarian or sheriff.

Please remember, placing items, whether fill, yard waste, garbage, etc. into public waters is a violation of both litter and public water management laws. The DNR encourages good stewardship of our water and land resources.

For additional information, resources, and links on Shoreline Management, click on the “Educational Tab” on the WICOLA Homepage and then “Shoreline Management”.

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May
21

Prescribed Fire – Kangas Units 1 & 2

Date Issued: May 20, 2018                                       

Prescribed Fire Information: 218-208-3969

Anticipated Schedule for Prescribed Fires: The USDA Forest Service plans to implement several prescribed fire projects on the Superior National Forest this spring.  The actual date of ignition is dependent on many factors including: fuel moisture, relative humidity, temperature, and wind. Fire managers hope to complete the units during this spring burning season. Currently, Tuesday, May 22, shows the most promise for wind direction and speed, relative humidity, soil moisture, and other factors. However, conditions will be monitored closely. The exact date and time of ignition will be determined by weather factors as they develop.

Size and Location: Kangas Unit 1 (134 acres and Unit 2 (111 acres) are at Township 62N, Ranges 11/12W, Sections 25, 30, 31, and 36. 

Description:  Fire is part of the boreal forest ecosystem.  The main objective for this unit is to prepare for planting by reducing slash and vegetation competition in units that were harvested for fuels treatment. Fire will reduce tree encroachment and stimulate the growth of grasses sedges, rushes, and forbs. All of the Kangas units are part of a greater Ely area hazardous fuel reduction effort.

Precise ignition methods will be used to start the fires. Natural and/or constructed lines will be used to control and hold the fires.  Hose-lays supplied by water pumps or other water delivery equipment will supplement the holding actions where needed.  Fire crews will monitor the prescribed fire until it is declared out.

Resources: Holding crews/or engine and ignition crews of firefighters and/or engines will be working directly on the prescribed fire while it is active. Fire crews will continue to monitor the fires after they are completed. Additional resources including a hotshot crew and a job corps crew will supplement Superior National Forest staff.

 

For more information:

Fire Information: 218-208-3969

Superior National Forest website: www.fs.usda.gov/superior

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May
07

WICOL “Ice Out” - May 7th 2018

It has been reported to the DNR for White Iron Lake & the Entire Chain; “Ice out on May 7, 2018”.

Though the south end of White Iron has been mostly Ice free for the last 2 days, the north end just opened this afternoon at about 2:30 PM. The North end of white iron lake is called ice free if it is clear from the Silver Rapids Bridge across to the public landing across the lake on pine road.

For those that may be wondering how this year compares to previous years, Ice Out for dates for previous years for WICOL are as follows;

2018    May 7th

2017    April 14th

2016    April 20th

2015    April 17th

2014    May 12th

2013    May 14th

2012    March 25th

2011    April 29th

Let's go fishing, boating and canoeing while enjoying and preserving these wonderful waters we call “The White Iron Chain of Lakes”.

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May
07

Invasive Species Presentation by Jeffery Flory

May 9, 2018 | 7:00 pm - 8:15 pm

“Invasive species such as buckthorn was planted in yards and has been spreading into natural areas including the Superior National Forest.  It is tough for the US Forest Service or other agencies locate known and new species and species expansion.  We could really use your help.  Please join the Ely Field Naturalist program on Wednesday, May 9th from 7:00 to 8:15 p.m. in Classroom CL104 at Vermilion Community College.

Invasive Species Technician, Jeffery Flory from the 1854 Treaty Authority will be providing information on species of interest and training on how citizens can help detect and mark invasive species using either a computer or a smart phone.  Jeffrey will discuss leadership efforts occurring in southern St. Louis County by the Duluth Collaborative Species Management Area Group and the Stewardship Network.

Fees: FREE

Location: Vermilion Community College 
1900 E Camp St, Ely, MN, 55731

 

 

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May
04

Governor Dayton Proclaims: Clean Drain Dry Day!

Under cloak of darkness, in search of the elusive walleye, at 12:01 am Saturday, May 12th, Governor Mark Dayton will cast his line and officially proclaim, Clean Drain Dry Day, signaling the start to the Minnesota Fishing Opener! With over 1.6 million anglers hitting the waters, the Fishing Opener is the perfect opportunity to educate anglers on the importance of invasive species prevention.

WICOLA recognizes that Minnesota communities rely on healthy natural resources and citizens engaged in the fight against invasive species. “By presenting the Clean Drain Dry Proclamation at the 2018 Minnesota Governor’s Fishing Opener, we are all reminded to take action and become part of the solution for protecting our lakes, rivers and streams.”

Working with partners across the state, Wildlife Forever coordinates community-based outreach, marketing and educational resources to slow the spread of invasive species.

 “Clean Drain Dry unites all Minnesotans. Together, we are making a difference. Over 95% of the public comply with state AIS laws. That’s incredible and proof that what we’re doing is working to keep our lakes and streams healthy”, said Pat Conzemius, Executive Vice President of Wildlife Forever.   “We are grateful for WICOLA working to educate the importance of AIS prevention.”

Minnesota is home to some of America’s finest fishing and boating waters. Clean Drain Dry is simple and only takes a few seconds to do. As the national AIS prevention message, visitors from other states are likely to have seen or heard about it from boat inspectors, on television, or new watercraft cleaning stations. Easy behaviors are also reiterated on highway billboards, print ads, even flyers in bait shops and store front windows.

Do your part this fishing and boating season: Clean. Drain. Dry. All boats, trailers and gear.

For additional information, resources, and links on AIS, click on the “Educational Tab” on the WICOLA Homepage and then “Aquatic Invasive Species”

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Apr
27

Ely participates in National Wildfire Community Preparedness Day

Join the effort to reduce wildfire risk in Ely on May 5, 2018

Where: Ely Rec Center, 1035 Main Street

When: Saturday, May 5 from 10 am to 12 pm Lunch

Details: Dress to be outdoors and inside

Residents who want to take action steps to increase their safety but are unsure about how to start can now find the information, and the inspiration, they need to organize and accomplish wildfire risk reduction projects in their community. Ely is teaming up with the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and State Farm® for the fifth annual Wildfire Community Preparedness Day event on May 5, 2018, which helps communities prepare for and work together to reduce their risk of wildfire damage.

Preparedness Day is a call to action that gives people of all ages a chance to plan and participate in a risk reduction or wildfire preparedness activity that makes their community a safer place to live. 

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Apr
08

Loon Watchers

Common Loons breed on quiet, remote freshwater lakes of the northern U.S. and Canada, and they are sensitive to human disturbance. In winter and during migration, look for them on lakes, rivers, estuaries, and coastlines.

Want to learn more?

Do you ever wonder how and where loons spend the winter?

What migration patterns do they have?

Why the environment, habitat, and clean water are so important to loons?

How can you help loons in 2018?

You are welcome to attend a LOON WATCHER UPDATE

  • April 11, Wednesday, 7:00pm  @ VCC sponsored by Ely Field Naturalist
  • May 8, Tuesday, 12:00pm noon @ Grand Ely Lodge
  • May 15, Tuesday, 3:00pm @ Eveleth Library

If you are interested in these questions or have questions of your own or want to help fill out

MN DNR Loon Watcher Survey please attend.

You can pick any lake or lake area.

For more information on Loon Watchers, please contact;

Sherry Abts

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Cell 678-787-6957

          (or)

Kevin Woizeschke MN DNR 

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

218-203-4371

More information on the common loon can be found on the MN DNR website;

https://www.dnr.state.mn.us/birds/commonloon.html

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Apr
08

WICOLA Winter/Spring Rendezvous

 

WICOLA held its 3rd Winter/Spring Rendezvous on Saturday, April 7 at Veterans on the Lake. Thirty-seven members and guests attended to hear speakers Dan Schutte, owner of Shoreview Natives in Two Harbors and Derrick Passe, Project Manager with Lake County Soil and Water Conservation District. Dan spoke about the benefits of using native plants that serve as pollinators and increase bird and animal sightings that can educate our children to be future stewards of the land. Dan also emphasized that native planting’s help in erosion prevention and are a big benefit of less yard maintenance.

Derrick reminded us of the importance of shoreline management using native planting’s that not only benefit wildlife, but also help provide a buffer to protect our water quality. He also reminded the group of cost sharing opportunities where property owners can partner with SWCD to implement projects on their shoreline. Funds are available to offset much of the cost. Property owners can supply their own labor as matching contributions towards the grants. Derrick emphasized that this is a perfect opportunity for those who have turf grass at their shoreline and are interested in creating a buffer of native plantings for erosion control, habitat benefits, and maintaining good water quality in our lakes.

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Apr
03

From mercury to manoomin, sulfate causes ecological ripples in Minnesota waters

Posted March 26, 2018 on The Quetico Superior Foundation website

Originally published by the St. Croix Watershed Research Station, the field station of the Science Museum of Minnesota.

A chemical called sulfate is causing a lot of conflict and confusion in Minnesota. This discharge from iron mines, wastewater treatment plants, and proposed copper mines is essentially harmless to humans, but causes a “biogeochemical cascade” when it increases in lakes and rivers.

One of those impacts is best-known and most-debated: harm to wild rice, or manoomin. The Research Station has been involved in recent studies seeking to explain the connections between sulfate, Minnesota’s state grain, and a multitude of other causes and effects.

Now, new peer-reviewed publications detail the wide-ranging ways sulfate changes lakes and streams.

“Put sulfate into our dilute northern Minnesota waters and you will get a different environment,” says Research Station director emeritus and senior scientist Dr. Dan Engstrom, who was central to the studies. “In many ways it’s a lot worse than putting road salt into a lake, because sulfate is much more reactive.”

While rising salt levels have raised concerns recently, and can have negative effects on water, sulfate sets off a serious chain reaction.

Canary in the copper mine?

It is an important time to understand the issue: A judge recently struck down a proposed new sulfate standard to protect wild rice, and the State is in the middle of a public comment period on permits for PolyMet, the first company seeking to operate a copper-nickel mine in Minnesota. The project has the potential for significant sulfate discharges into the St. Louis River headwaters.

Wild rice was described by the University of Minnesota researchers who the Research Station partnered with as a “canary in the coal mine” for stream health. If wild rice isn’t thriving, something is amiss.

Already, iron mining and other human land uses have eradicated wild rice from many lakes where it once grew.

The alarm sounded by vanishing manoomin can also alert us to other ways sulfate is at work. The chemical can lead to increases in nutrients, which might cause more algae and other plant growth in a waterbody. It can be converted to sulfide in bottom sediments, which is toxic to many aquatic plants in addition to wild rice. It can otherwise disrupt the water chemistry, changing almost everything about a lake. And it can create toxic mercury levels in fish that people like to catch and eat.

Making mercury more dangerous

“This isn’t just about wild rice,” lead author Dr. Amy Myrbo says. “We’ve now found that putting sulfate into our water has consequences down the line, including more mercury in fish, changes in habitat for ducks, and changes in the food chain.”

Sulfate most directly affects wildlife and human health by increasing the conversion of mercury to methylmercury, the most dangerous form of the toxic element. Mercury is linked to poor brain development in fetuses, as well as neurological problems like tremors, insomnia, memory loss, headaches, and cognitive and motor dysfunction.

Sulfate fuels a certain type of bacteria that live in low-oxygen bottom waters. Not only do these microbes “breathe” sulfate, but they also produce methylmercury as part of their unusual biology. This form of mercury easily works its way up the food chain, from plankton to game fish.

At every step, the concentration increases, until it reaches dangerous levels in top predators.

In one 10-year study in northern Minnesota, the researchers teased out complicated connections between sulfate, mercury, water, and weather. They measured how adding sulfate to a wetland caused a dramatic rise in methylmercury in the water, the peat, and aquatic insects.

Feeding fertility

Excess nutrients in water bodies is a problem more closely associated with southern Minnesota and other areas with intensive agriculture and other development in their watersheds. But sulfate can also make the relatively sterile lakes of northern Minnesota more fertile.

Most of these lakes have low levels of oxygen at the bottom. This means dead plants decompose slowly, storing carbon, phosphorus, nitrogen, and other nutrients.

But sulfate can speed up decomposition, releasing the nutrients more quickly, and fertilizing the water. That changes what plants thrive there, and increases the occurrence of nuisance or harmful algae blooms.

As the climate continues to warm in the decades ahead, especially in northern Minnesota, increased plant growth is already expected. Adding more sulfate could multiply the effects in the region’s beloved lakes.

Root problem

A lot of the life in a lake grows from the bottom. Plants with roots in the sediments are critical to aquatic ecosystems, gathering sun from above, dissolved carbon from the water, and nutrients from the muck below.

That mud happens to be the same place where sulfate turns into sulfide, converting a relatively harmless compound to a poison toxic to most forms of life.

Sulfide is sort of the anti-oxygen. Organisms such as people and fish and most life forms depend on oxygen for critical chemical reactions that keep us alive. But in places where there is not much oxygen, other organisms use sulfide for similar purposes. Sulfide-dependent organisms don’t like oxygen, and oxygen-dependent organisms don’t like sulfide.

If the amount of sulfide in bottom sediments gets too high, almost all native plants suffer. They don’t grow, and they don’t reproduce.

Native plants like wild rice and other rooted aquatic vegetation have special strategies to fend off sulfide. They take oxygen from the water and pump it out through their roots to interfere in the chemical reaction that produces sulfide. But that defense can only go so far.

As sulfate levels rise in the water and cause increasing sulfide in the sediments, it overwhelms the plants. They are eventually replaced by a limited number of species that can tolerate sulfide-rich conditions.

Degrading biodiversity

Engstrom says he has seen for himself what a wetland with a lot of sulfate looks like. In studies on the Iron Range, he studied marshes where mining companies discharged wastewater.

The wetlands were a monoculture of cattails. In other related studies, scientists grew cultivated (white) rice in tanks and experimented with adding sulfate and other chemicals. When the ingredients were present to convert the sulfate to sulfide, the rice failed to thrive. The chemical is simply is not compatible with most aquatic vegetation.

Engstrom points to the implications of mineral exploration occurring upstream of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, with its fragile and unique ecosystem.

“We don’t know all the aquatic plants that are sensitive, but if you look at the diversity of lakes in the Boundary Waters, it’s a beautiful assemblage, including underwater,” he says. “Sulfate could knock a lot of those plants out.”

To view the original article with references go to;

http://queticosuperior.org/blog/mercury-manoomin-sulfate-causes-ecological-ripples-minnesota-waters#.WsJ9uExFzIU

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Apr
02

5 things you should know about aquatic invasive species

Our water quality and supply is being degraded by aquatic "bullies."

MPR News host Chris Farrell recently spoke with Jeff Forester, executive director of the Minnesota Lakes and Rivers Advocates, Kelly Pennington, an aquatic invasive species prevention coordinator with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources and Jim Wherley, co-owner of Sunset Bay Resort.

Here are some key takeaways of their discussion, which took place at the third annual Aquatic Invaders Summit.

  1. One way to view aquatic invasive species is like bullies on a playground.
  2. One way aquatic invasive species get to our waterways is through ballast water from international vessels.
  3. Aquatic invaders can cause great economic harm, including to resort owners.
  4. Minnesotans can do lot to prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species from one waterway to another.
  5. Controlling the spread of invasives matters to all of us.

To view the complete MPR article or listen to the entire conversation with audio player go to; https://www.mprnews.org/story/2018/04/02/water_main_aquatic_invasives

For additional information, resources, and links on AIS, click on the “Educational Tab” on the WICOLA Homepage and then “Aquatic Invasive Species”

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Mar
29

AIS Panel Discussion on MPR April 2nd

 “Aquatic Invasive Species Special”

Marketplace’s Senior Economics Contributor, Chris Farrell, will host a panel discussion on aquatic invasive species – and whether they matter to people beyond those with lakefront property. The discussion will air on MPR News Presents on April 2 during the noon hour.

For additional information, resources, and links on AIS, click on the “Educational Tab” on the WICOLA Homepage and then “Aquatic Invasive Species”

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Mar
20

WICOLA Spring Rendezvous, Saturday April 7th

The WICOLA Spring Rendezvous is on Saturday, April 7, Veterans on the Lake, 9:30-11:30 a.m. If you are in the area or within driving distance, please join us for coffee and donuts and a very engaging program. There is no pre-registration or cost for the event. We encourage you to bring friends and neighbors interested in joining WICOLA.

Our program speakers are Dan Schutte, owner of Shoreview Natives in Two Harbors and Lake Co. SWCD staff, including Derrick Passe, Project Coordinator. Dan and Lake Co. SWCD are excited to talk with you as property owners about the benefits of native plantings and tree plantings infiltration areas.

Have you renewed your 2018 WICOLA membership? If not, we hope that you will continue to be part of our active lake association and help us accomplish our many priorities for 2018. If you have already submitted your membership, thank you.

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Mar
14

Shoreline Management

Manicured lawns up to your property line may look nice in the city along a city street or sidewalk. Up at the lake, however, keeping native plants and unmowed buffers to the lake can have measurable benefits to the lake. The shade alone can provide cool water for fish spawning. Native plants have evolved to thrive in this climate and can reduce the need for fertilizer. Wildlife can use the vegetation for nests and concealment. Geese (often a nuisance) will avoid shorelines with a natural buffer since it could conceal predators. One of the greatest time savings of a native landscape is that it doesn’t require weekly mowing like a home in a city. Just think of all the time that you can save (not to mention noise and air pollution) by leaving the lawnmower in the city.

Do you have turf grass at your shoreline and interested in creating a buffer of native plantings? Lake Co. SWCD is eager to share their knowledge, and they have funding to partner with property owners to implement projects on their shoreline. If interested, contact Derrick Passe or the WICOLA Board. We are especially interested in having a site identified ASAP to provide members with a hands on opportunity with native plantings in May.

Derrick Passe; This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

WICOLA Board; This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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Mar
08

WICOLA Receives Wilson Stewardship Award

We are very pleased to inform WICOLA Membership that the White Iron Chain of Lakes Association has been selected as the recipient of the 2018 Wilson Stewardship Award. The award was presented on March 7 as part of the 2018 International Rainy-Lake of the Woods Watershed Forum program.

The Wilson Stewardship Award recognizes outstanding achievements of individuals, groups, or projects that are making a significant contribution to environmental stewardship and sustainability of the Rainy-Lake of the Woods watershed ecosystem, through:

  • Education, outreach, civic engagement and participation in stewardship initiatives or program development.
  • Projects or programs focused on protection, restoration, preservation or reduction of environmental impact and development of sustainable practices.

 

 

 

This award is named in honor of its first recipient, Gerry Wilson, in recognition of her contributions to lake stewardship during her 16 years as the former Executive Director of the Lake of the Woods District Property Owners Association. The selection committee for the Wilson Stewardship Award were unanimous in their recommendation that WICOLA’s contributions, over many years, epitomizes the values represented by the award.

 

 

 

 

The Award Committee noted, in particular, WICOLA’s contributions and roles in:

  • Initiating, coordinating, and maintaining a long-standing citizen-led water quality monitoring network on the White Iron Chain of Lakes, collecting water quality data that inform both residents and agencies
  • Developing and distributing a unique and innovative compact testing/educational materials to area outfitters so canoe parties can take part in water sampling
  • Initiating a review of existing area septic systems to identify areas of concern related to septic system condition and density
  • Becoming one of the most consistent “go-to” information sources for area residents and visitors on issues related to water quality, invasive species, and natural resources
  • Working with partner agencies and building trusting relationships that have allowed WICOLA to become recognized as a key player in furthering clean water goals in this watershed.

In addition to the contributions noted above, the committee was particularly appreciative of the significant effort WICOLA has made in contributing to the science knowledge in the headwaters and the tireless outreach to residents on water-related issues affecting the basin, including during the formation of the Rainy Basin Plan in the early 2000s.

Look for expanded coverage on the Wilson Stewardship Award in the WICOLA Spring Newsletter.

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Feb
14

Ice Roads on WICOL

A Winter View from the White Iron Chain of Lakes…An Ice Road being plowed on White Iron.

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Feb
13

Annual Tree Sales – County SWCD

Trees help reduce erosion, protect water quality, increase energy conservation, improve wildlife habitat and may increase the value of your property.

Each year both the St. Louis County and Lake County Soil and Water Conservation District sells trees and shrubs, both conifers and deciduous types. Orders are taken beginning in January each year with tree pickup dates in May.

For more information on the Annual Tree Sales including Order Forms,

North St. Louis County

<https://www.nslswcd.org/programs-services/annual-tree-sale/>

Lake County

<http://www.co.lake.mn.us/departments/soil_and_water_conservation_district/services.php>

 

Frequently Asked Tree Sale Questions

When do I need to plant the trees?
Ideally, as soon as you get them to your land. Realistically, plant within days. Much past a week after pickup is pushing it. The trees need to be tended to daily, so it will be easier on you and the trees if you can plant them quickly.

How do I store my trees until I plant them?

Find a cool, shaded spot of earth next to something you can lean the trees against. Set the roots directly on the ground, wrap the outside of the roots in burlap or an old bath towel, and water multiple times a day. Keep the roots and their wrapping wet, as you do not want the roots to dry out. Do not submerge roots in a bucket of water as they will drown. 

How big are the trees? Should I pick them up in a trailer?

No, most of the trees will easily fit in a car.  Look at the order form for the heights of the trees you are purchasing.  We wrap the roots in a bag so your car doesn't get dirty.

Can I order less than a bundle?

Unfortunately we can't break down the bundles. However, you might have a friend or neighbor that would like to split a bundle with you.

What if I can't pick up my trees on the assigned days?

Then you'll need to find someone to pick them up for you. We aren't able to care for the trees after the pickup day

Will the deer eat my trees?

If they're hungry enough, we've all seen what deer can do to any plant. If deer are a problem in your area, you can build simple cages or put fences up around your trees.

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Dec
09

Nine smart salting tips that protect Minnesota waters

As the first major snows of the season arrive, Minnesotans are thinking about clearing snow and ice from pavement — sometimes with salt. We scatter an estimated 365,000 tons of salt in the metro area each year. But it only takes a teaspoon of salt to permanently pollute five gallons of water.

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) recommends a low-salt diet for our lakes, streams, and rivers. Much like table salt, rock salt’s benefits are peppered with danger. Salt helps melt ice on roads and sidewalks and protects drivers and pedestrians. But when the snow melts, de-icing salt, which contains chloride, runs into nearby bodies of water and harms aquatic wildlife. Chloride accumulates in the water over time, and there’s no feasible way to treat or remove it.

A University of Minnesota study found that about 78% of salt applied in the Twin Cities for winter maintenance ends up either in groundwater or local lakes and wetlands. The MPCA has found that groundwater in the state’s urban areas often exceeds the state standards for chloride contamination. Forty-seven bodies of water in Minnesota have tested above the standard for chloride, 39 of which are in the Twin Cities metro area.

Though no environmentally safe, effective, and inexpensive alternatives to salt are yet available, smart salting strategies can help reduce chloride pollution in state waters, while saving money and limiting salt damage to infrastructure, vehicles, and plants.

Do your part by following these simple tips:

  • Shovel. The more snow and ice you remove manually, the less salt you will have to use and the more effective it can be.
  • 15 degrees (F) is too cold for salt. Most salts stop working at this temperature. Use sand instead for traction, but remember that sand does not melt ice.
  • Slow down. Drive for the conditions and make sure to give plow drivers plenty of space to do their work. Consider purchasing winter (snow) tires.
  • Apply less. More salt does not mean more melting. Use less than four pounds of salt per 1,000 square feet. One pound of salt is approximately a heaping 12-ounce coffee mug. Leave about a three-inch space between granules. Consider purchasing a hand-held spreader to help you apply a consistent amount.
  • Sweep up extra. If salt or sand is visible on dry pavement it is no longer doing any work and will be washed away. Use this salt or sand somewhere else or throw it away.
  • Hire a certified Smart Salting contractor. Visit the MPCA web site for a list of winter maintenance professionals specifically trained in limiting salt use.
  • Watch a video. Produced by the Mississippi Watershed Management Organization, it offers tools for environmentally friendly snow and ice removal.
  • Act locally. Support local and state winter maintenance crews in their efforts to reduce their salt use.
  • Promote smart salting. Work together with local government, businesses, schools, churches, and nonprofits to find ways to reduce salt use in your community.

Learn more on the MPCA's website.

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The mission of the MPCA is to protect and improve the environment and enhance human health.
www.pca.state.mn.us • Toll-free and TDD 800-657-3864 

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Dec
05

Draft 2018 Impaired Waters List open for public comment through Jan. 26

The MPCA recently announced the draft 2018 Impaired Waters List, which will be open for a formal public comment period November 27, 2017 – January 26, 2018. All written comments received during that period, and Agency responses, will be forwarded to EPA, along with the final draft TMDL List and accompanying documentation for their review and approval. The comment period will end at 4:30 pm CST on January 26, 2018. Please submit written comments to Miranda Nichols by this date by one of these methods:

  • Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
  • Mail: Miranda Nichols, Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, 520 Lafayette Rd N, St Paul, MN 55155 (A return postal address must be included.)

Visit the MPCA’s Impaired Waters List website for more information on the documents open for public comment.

______________________________________________

The mission of the MPCA is to protect and improve the environment and enhance human health.

www.pca.state.mn.us • Toll-free and TDD 800-657-3864

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Ely, MN 55731

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