Prairie Lake Improvement Association (PLIA)
Fall Meeting Summary – September 1, 2019
The meeting was called to order at 10:35 am by President Joe Beaupre. Joe welcomed everyone and thanked them for attending the meeting. Participants introduced themselves and shared where they lived on the lake. Attendance was approximately 26 including officers Joe Beaupre (President), Scott Moncur (Vice President), Mike Botilla (Financial Officer), and Jonette Kreideweis (Recording Secretary).
The Spring Meeting Summary was distributed. A motion was made, seconded and approved to accept the summary.
Mike Botilla handed out copies of the Financial Report and shared a few remarks. The Association currently has 82 members out of 167 residences and an ending balance as of 9/1/19 of just over $6,200. A motion was made, seconded and approve to accept the Financial Report.
Big Sandy Watershed District -- Joe Beaupre has been attending the Big Sandy Watershed District Meetings. The Watershed is in the 2nd year of a 5-year project to take water samples, identify issues and prepare a plan. Aitkin County Soil and Water Conservation District has a great website that outlines activities. There is a link on the PLIA website http://www.prairielake.org
Northern Pike Regulations – The DNR held a meeting on May 30, 2019 to receive comments and discuss options for northern pike regulations on Prairie Lake. Changes to the current regulations are anticipated with possibly no 30” trophy limit. Another meeting will be held on October 3, 2019 at 6:00 pm at the Floodwood Fair Building to announce changes. Joe will attend and encouraged others to participate. Scott Moncur asked if there was any discussion at the May meeting about panfish stocking. Joe replied that any stocking would have to be discussed with the DNR. Scott asked Joe to bring the topic up at the October meeting with the DNR.
Work Around the Dam and Outlet – At the last meeting there were questions about flags and markings at the dam and lake outlet. Members shared their understanding was that the work was related to fiber optics and not work on the dam. One participant noted that there were a number of pink flags on her property. It was suggested that she contact St. Louis County Surveyor for more information.
Farm Stand – Heather Marie and John passed along a huge thank you and wanted everyone to know that they appreciated support for the Friday night farm stand. They will be gone this winter, but are still interested in renting or buying more property in the area.
Road Improvements -- At the last meeting there were concerns about the condition of the lake access road. Joe received clarification that the paved portion of road is under county jurisdiction and the gravel portion is the responsibility of the DNR. There were also questions last Spring about improvements to the TH 73 and TH 210 intersection. Joe stated that improvements are scheduled for 2021. A round-a-bout is not being considered because of proximity to the train tracks.
Buoys – Help is needed to put in and take out 3 buoys. Two are by the little island and one is over by Ken Hallberg’s property. If anyone is able to help, please contact Scott Moncur. Also, one buoy is missing. If found, please let Scott know.
Wildlife Report – Ken Hallberg gave a brief wildlife report. It has been a peculiar year for loons and eagles. There was a lot of adult loon activity on the lake with only one known nest and one surviving chick. There are usually 2-3 nests on the lake, but this year the only known one was on Ken’s floating nest. The decrease could be related to jet ski activity or water pollution in Lake Michigan or the Gulf. Ken was asked if he thought there might be benefit in putting other floating loon nests on the lake. His experience is that loons will only use the floating nests if they are near to where they have nested in the past. The grass island might be one option. No eagle nests were identified on the lake although eagles were regularly seen. There were at least 3 pair of Canadian geese with 15-20 goslings. Someone reported that Steve Fore on Prairie Lake Road said the DNR was talking about trapping and tagging geese. There was snapping turtle activity, Ken reported seeing several phantom nests and no eggs. Bobcats were sighted twice in July and wolves were seen on the northwest side of the lake. The severe cold weather last winter may have had beneficial effects on some pests. Duluth has reported seeing a die off of emerald ash borers and there have been no reports of forest tent caterpillars surviving the winter. There were no reports of gypsy moth activity in the area.
Water Quality Report –Ken Hallberg gave a brief report on water quality. This year Ken was just checking water clarity. The Watershed did not pay for or request any chemical testing for chlorophyll or total phosphorus. Ken brought along a Sechi Disc and described how water clarity samples are taken on calm days, in good light on the shadow side of the boat. Prairie Lake usually averages 4-6’ of clarity and it was pretty much a normal year. Ken tests Hasty Brook clarity at Ylen Road and on the Prairie River over by the Aitkin County line. Water clarity tests at both places were very good.
Water Levels – Kellie Rae Theiss shared information on lake water levels from early May – September 1, 2019. Water was high in Spring and now is lower than average. The lake typically bounces around between 16”-18”. But, by the end of August levels were lower than most can remember. The dam was damaged a few years ago during the big storm. A steel plate on the culvert limits water discharge. Participants asked Joe to talk with the County and the DNR to see if anything can be done to stabilize water levels.
Beaver Management – There were no significant concerns about beaver damage. The topic will continue to be discussed at future meetings.
Member Suggestions and Comments
- There was a discussion about weed and muck control products. Scott Moncur reported that he had good results with the products that are listed on the PLIA website. Others reported mixed results.
- Copper sulfate was used in the past and is available at home improvement stores. Scott reported that it was effective in killing the invasive Chinese mystery snails on his shoreline. One person asked if it might also kill good snails.
- There was a motion, seconded and approved to host a pancake breakfast from 9:30 am – 10:30 am before the next PLIA meeting Memorial Day weekend. Corrine Moncur will help organize volunteers to pass out flyers and prepare the breakfast.
- If you have information that you would like shared with members, please let Joe know and he can post it on the website.
- Condolences were offered to the Sanft and Theiss families for their recent losses.