Channel Dredged

Carlos – Le Homme Dieu

The LCAA Board spent the winter working to complete the long overdue channel dredging of the Carlos/Le Homme Dieu channel.  Challenges with buried utilities, including the ALASD sewer line, electrical power lines, and gas lines buried in the channel made it a difficult project.  Everyone connected with the project was happy with the result and it should serve lake residents and visitors for many years to come.

LCAA board member Bill Verschaetse worked with the DNR for permitting and authorization, and Ferguson Brothers Excavation completed the project on May 7, 2017.

The Le Homme Dieu, Darling, and Geneva Lake Associations joined LCAA in financing the cost of this project.  Douglas County Public Works provided logistic support.

The lake association will now turn their attention to the Carlos/Darling channel.  It too will need dredging at some point.  Douglas County Public Works will deal with some structural issues involving the bridge before the project moves forward.

As we send out our membership dues notice, we ask that everyone on the lake renew their membership and make an additional contribution for channel dredging projects.

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Carlos – Le Homme Dieu Channel Dredging

Channel dredging is set for the end of November.  By waiting until late fall, we avoid issues hauling away and transporting sand that may be impacted by zebra mussels.  We also avoid boat traffic in the off-season.

LCAA is joined by lakes Le Homme Dieu and Geneva to complete this project.  The dredging is a big project and will be done right.  Next spring, we will turn our attention to the Carlos/Darling channel.

We ask that everyone pay their dues and chip in an extra contribution to help finance the effort.

Contributions are appreciated.  Your membership dues and support are critical to completing this channel dredging project.

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What does your lake association do for you?

In addition to publishing a newsletter, your lake association:

  • Monitors, tests, and reports on water quality,
  • Works with the DNR to maintain and stock our Lake Carlos fish population,
  • Works with the Douglas County Department of Land and Resource Management to insure that reasonable regulation of lake shore development helps prevent degradation of lake water quality,
  • Monitors pest control and helps prepare for tent-worm infestation that cyclically occurs,
  • Works with the Douglas County Public Works Department to maintain both navigation under bridges and lakes area roadwork,
  • Works with the Sheriff’s Department to help coordinate safety and law enforcement,
  • Works with the county and the state to help control fishing tournament use of our waters,
  • Is a part of the Douglas County Lake Association (DCLA), working to protect all of the lakes in the county,
  • Is a part of the Chain of Lakes, monitoring activity and development on the Chain, and
  • Works with the Douglas County Board of Commissioners on all issues concerning preservation of lake-water quality, property values, taxation, and regulation.
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LCAA Review of Annual Meeting June 23, 2016

OF  JUNE 23, 2016
(download in Word)

Call to Order
The 2016 annual meeting was held on June 23, 2016, at the Phoenix Event Center. The meeting was called to order by Paul McCarten and the LCAA lake board members were introduced.

Board of Directors:

Region 1:
Dave Butler
Al Grundei
Janet Eisele

Region 2:
Paul McCarten
Stan Pickett
Bill Verschaetse

Region 3:
Derek Trosvig
Dave Holtz
Robb Steinbring

• Douglas County Board member Bev Bales was also welcomed.

Secretary’s Report
The 2015 annual meeting was reviewed. LCAA wrapped up last year in good shape.

Treasurer’s Report
The Association Treasurer Derek Trosvig reported that the Association remained in good shape. Membership levels have held at between 200 and 250, and the board was focused on reaching out to all residents on the lake by way of its newsletter and website. Major expenditures were reviewed including memberships in the Douglas County Lake Association, contributions to environmental groups that focus on Minnesota lakes, and spring walleye stocking. Newsletter costs and administrative expenses were reviewed. The report was approved as presented.

Board Activity Reports

  1. Water Quality and Testing
    Water quality and testing were reported by Dave Butler. He explained the process for testing including water clarity tests that are conducted from spring through the fall, and Sentinel Lake testing for the long-term project in analyzing water quality and lake temperatures. (Lake Carlos is one of a handful of lakes that are included in this Sentinel Lakes program. Because Lake Carlos is so deep, it is an ideal marker for analysis of pollution impacts, climate change issues, and other factors being monitored by the state DNR.)
    As part of Dave’s discussion he made comparisons to past water quality testing. As an example, five years ago the June tests had water clarity depths at approximately 12 feet. This year, water clarity was approximately 27 feet. It is thought that the improved water clarity is related to zebra mussels and the water filtering impact that mussels have on the lake environment. Attendees reported anecdotal comment regarding other areas of the country where zebra mussels have had similar improvements on water quality.
  2. Water Level Monitoring
    Al Grundei reported findings regarding water level monitoring. He referred the meeting to the graph shown in the spring/summer newsletter and commented that this year’s spring testing showed the lowest level season start in the last five years. Historically water levels peak early and then diminish as the open-water season continues into the fall.
    Discussion regarding low water levels in the Le Homme Dieu/Carlos channel were discussed. Lake level testing is conducted at the Long Prairie River dam (weir) on the north end of Lake Carlos.
  3. Cabin Rental Regulations
    Cabin rental regulations were also discussed. Al reported that cabin rentals have become more common on the lake and concerns are being raised about vacation by owner (VBO) and like services. These rentals are unregulated. It was reported that the state of Minnesota is looking into the possibility of statewide regulations. Now, rentals need not comply with safety and public health standards required of resorts. Renters can also cause neighborhood disturbances because cabins are close to their neighbors and the vacationers often arrive with dogs, jet skis, and loud activities that are not otherwise found on a weekly basis in lakeside residential neighborhoods. (Douglas County board member Bev Bales later addressed the issue as well). LCAA will continue to monitor the situation.
    Guest Speaker
    Ben Eckhoff, Lake Carlos State Park Naturalist was the guest of LCAA at the meeting. His interesting presentation included an invitation to boaters to use the park. Boats need not have a sticker and all of the facilities are available for lake users including the fish cleaning station that is maintained by the State Park and is available for fish cleaning.
    Activities including fishing, hiking, bird watching, and many other activities are available to all of us and can be reviewed on the Lake Carlos State Park website. Building a custom fishing rods or snowshoes are an example of these activities. Summer and winter activities are available and lake residents are welcome to make use of the park. Upwards of 170,000 people use Lake Carlos State Park in any given year.
    Ben then discussed the wildlife found at the park. Nesting bald eagles, great horned owls, and local and migratory birds are found throughout the park area. Migrating water birds attract birders from around the country because of the variety of birds found on our lake and in particular in the state park.
    Other animals are also common in the park including a “Fisher” that is related to a river otter. Porcupines, mink, fox, dear, live at the park and even a black bear is a known visitor.
    Ben also discussed boat landing access in the park and invited lake residents to make use of the facility. Camping, canoeing, kayaking, and fish house rentals are available and inexpensive!
    Common issues that confront lake residents were also discussed. The cuckoo bird that thrives on tent caterpillars, are becoming more common in the park. As we know, tent caterpillars can cause difficulty for lakeshore residents.
    A project at the Long Prairie River dam is being considered to replace the aging structure. A number of government agencies are working on the project and LCAA will be in the loop as the project moves forward. (Lake level changes are not anticipated as a result of this new project.)
    The presentation was well received by everybody in attendance. Ben was thanked for his involvement.
  4. Douglas County Lake Association Report
    Board member Janet Eisele regularly attends DCLA meetings and shares information with the LCAA Board so that we can participate in county wide activities as appropriate. Because the lakes have common interests, LCAA maintains involvement.
  5. Walleye Stocking Report
    Bill Verschaetse has coordinated walleye stocking for LCAA. This year spring stocking took place (in previous years we funded fall stocking). Both the Viking Sportsmen Club and the DNR were of the opinion that the small minnows that were stocked in the fall were not developing to the degree that it had been hoped.
    LCAA then explored the possibility of spring stocking and became aware that larger walleye that had grown for a year were available for stocking. Stocking was completed on June 23, 2016. LCAA anticipates that we will now stock on a regular spring schedule. It is hoped that this new plan will result in reduced fish mortality and the larger yearlings have a much better chance of survival.
  6. Channel Dredging
    Bill Verschaetse also reported that LCAA is exploring options for channel dredging. The biggest problem is lack of water depth at the Carlos/Le Homme Dieu channel. Channel navigation has worsened over the last few years and dredging will be necessary soon.
    LCAA is working with the Le Homme Dieu and Geneva associations to explore options. These lakes have agreed to help finance a project and once options are determined, Douglas County Public Works Department will be contacted. It presently holds the permit to complete dredging projects. We anticipate a good working relationship with the county.
    All three of the lake associations want to make sure that the project is completed so that it will last for many years. The LCAA is working with the DNR to assure that the project will be completed this summer.
    The Carlos/Darling Bridge is not experiencing as big of a problem but dredging options are being reviewed. It apparently has some issues that may require more extensive bank work before dredging can be considered. The Lake Darling Association is engaged in this project with LCAA and we will report to our members with the goal of ensuring open channels for navigation.
  7. Board Election
    Region III was up for election. All three of the current members including Dave Holtz, Derek Trosvig, and Robb Steinbring agreed to continue on the board and a motion was made from the floor and passed unanimously to re-elect the three board members to another term.

Other Business

A) Bev Bales: Douglas County Board member Bev Bales, a long-time resident on Lake Carlos, has served on the Douglas County Board for the past eighteen years. She will retire at the end of the year. She reported that the county board is aware of the Vacation by Owner rental concerns. It is an issue without easy answers and since the state is working on a uniform plan the county will hold off. If there are disturbances at a rental unit, residents were encouraged to call 911 to alert authorities.

Bev also acknowledged that lake water levels and periodic channel dredging is a necessary activity for the lake association and she is aware of LCAA’s current activity in that regard.

All lake residents are encouraged to work with the county when doing lake shore projects. Douglas County Land and Resource Management is reportedly easy to work with and encourages residents to contact them regarding projects and/or to report issues that may adversely affect the lake and water quality. Bev was thanked for her long time service on the Douglas County Board.

B) Worm Spraying: Tent caterpillars, army worms, were noted in some isolated areas on the lake and a few neighborhoods completed aerial spraying. There were no reports of any significant tent caterpillar problems this year.

It was reported to membership that the aerial spraying does have an additional environmental impact. The non-toxic solution, sprayed and ingested by the worms, is not specific to tent caterpillars. All caterpillars are killed including those that become butterflies. LCAA will discourage spraying unless there is a significant tent caterpillar infestation.

C) Zebra Mussels: There were no significant reports of zebra mussel problems. LCAA has taken the position that once we became infested with this invasive species it became part of our lake ecosystem. We will continue to monitor the issue and report to membership as needed.

D) Lakeshore Development and Grants: Lakeshore development was noted as being the single biggest contributor to lake pollution. Lake Carlos residents are encouraged to make contact with Douglas County before they do any lakeshore development project. Often times, conditional use permits are granted and guidelines are shared for a project. Failure to get a permit can be problematic.

Grants are available to lakeshore owners if they’re interested in doing environmentally sensitive lakeshore projects. Information regard grants are outlined in the newsletter and found on the LCAA website.

E) Chain of Lakes Committee: Lake Associations for Darling, Carlos, Le Homme Dieu, Geneva, and Victoria are in discussions to revive the committee. It will share ideas and other matters of interest on the Chain of Lakes. All of these lakes are heavily populated. Activities may include publishing of a chain newsletter shared by all of the lakes.

F) Membership Decal: It was decided at the meeting that LCAA will get ‘membership decals’ for all paid members. When the next newsletter/dues notice goes out, members will receive a decal that can be displayed on mailboxes, boats, or otherwise displayed to signify membership in the association.

Member Comments

Everyone enthusiastically enjoyed the presentation by Ben Eckoff. The new newsletter format was well-received. LCAA is encouraged with the prospect of a new and revised website. Again, everyone was interested in correspondence by way of email and dues payments by way of website.
LCAA thanked Jon Gaugert for the availability of the Phoenix Event Center. It worked great for the annual meeting. Member drawing wrapped up the meeting including donations from Ace Hardware, Bug-a-Boo Bay, and the Arrowwood Deck Bar.

The meeting was adjourned at 9:00.

Paul McCarten, Board Secretary

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Fall Lawn Care

Please don’t burn leaves or clippings near the lakeshore or on the beach.   Stay at least 30 feet from the lakeshore when fertilizing.

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Call Zoning Department before Landscaping Your Lakeshore

Many lake residents plan shoreland or bank projects this time of the year.  Before you begin your project, contact the County Land and Resource Management office (762-3863) to ensure that your project is in compliance with county regulations.

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Dim your Bright Lights

One of the joys of living on the lake is to be able to walk down to the dock or lakeshore at night and look at the stars, even in the winter.  The serenity of lake life can be ruined by a bright ‘white’ security light.  If you have a bright night light, call your power company about an energy efficient light.  New energy efficient lights not only save money but decrease light pollution.  If you dim your lights, you and your neighbors can better enjoy life in lake country.

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Securing Cabins for Winter

If closing your cabin for the season, take the following precautions:

  • Drain and shut off all pipes to outside faucets.
  • If heated, leave inside faucets dripping and cabinets open to expose plumbing to warmer air.
  • Take all high-valued items, such as televisions, VCRs, stereos and the likes with you.
  • Consider installing a silent security alarm, even though it requires leaving on your electricity.
  • Have a neighbor check your home occasionally to ensure that it is safely secured.
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Boat Regulations – Life Jackets Save Lives

  1.  All children under twelve (12) years old must wear a life jacket (Personal Flotation Device – PFD).
  2. Boats with enclosed fuel or engine compartments must carry a fire extinguisher.
  3. Boats must carry a “wearable” personal floatation device for each occupant.
  4. Water-skiers, boarders, tubers and jet skiers must wear a lifejacket.

Remember to have a life jacket accessible at all times with Paddle Boards.

Lake Carlos had a close call in early May.  Five spear fishermen experienced a sinking boat.  Neighbors came to the rescue and were joined by the water patrol.  None of the spear fishermen were wearing life jackets, nor did they have life jackets on board.

Please remember to have life jackets on board.  It’s the law!  “10 lives could be saved each year in Minnesota by wearing life jackets.”

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Jet Ski Regulations

  1. Jet skis must operate at closed throttle (no wake speed) when within 150 feet of a dock, shoreline, swimmer, raft, or a non-motorized or anchored water craft or through emergent or floating vegetation.
  2. No jet ski operation is allowed between 1 hour before sunset and 9:30 a.m.
  3. No one under 13 years old may operate a jet ski and those under 18 must have a permit or be accompanied by an adult.
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