from Rice Creek Watershed District FALL 2013
The Rice Creek Watershed District’s (RCWD) mission is to prevent flooding and enhance water quality in harmony with development for the common good.
INSIDE 2 Common carp: A mystery worth solving
3 RCWD uses fire to restore and manage wetlands
BACK A new look and more opportunities to connect
Good things are on the horizon for Bald Eagle Lake By Jessica Bromelkamp and Matt Kocian The communities surrounding Bald Eagle Lake are abuzz about the many different projects happening in and around the lake to improve water quality. The goal of residents is simple: “go out to the end of your dock – stand in five feet of water and see your feet in August.” As with most projects of this scale, the steps needed to achieve this goal are a bit more complicated. With committed RCWD staff, residents, and community-based organizations at the helm, this ship is moving in the right direction. The primary problem facing Bald Eagle Lake is too much phosphorous, a nutrient that supports plant growth. When too much phosphorous gets into our lakes, it causes problems such as increased algae growth, low levels of oxygen for aquatic life, and murky water which makes it difficult for aquatic plants to grow. Sources of phosphorous include decomposing leaves and grass clippings, oil and grease, eroding soil, and fertilizers that wash into lakes and streams when it rains. Once in the lake, phosphorous recirculates and continues to feed algae. The RCWD has been working hard over the past year to lay the groundwork for a few important projects that will reduce phosphorus inputs to Bald Eagle Lake.
The RCWD believes that these projects represent significant steps towards improving Bald Eagle Lake. Two raingarden demonstration projects
were installed in the Bald Eagle Lake watershed this fall. Raingardens capture, absorb, and clean stormwater before it reaches nearby lakes and streams. The RCWD plans to host a raingarden tour for residents this spring. Cost-share funding is also available from the RCWD to support future projects. Construction will begin this winter on the Oneka Ridge Golf Course Water Reuse Project, which will capture water from
1,000 acres of land to reuse for irrigation, instead of pumping groundwater. Water not needed for irrigation will be sent through perforated pipes to recharge the groundwater system. Conservative estimates suggest that 75 pounds of phosphorous will be kept out of the lake each year, depending upon rainfall. The RCWD is planning to complete two aluminum sulfate (“alum”) treatments
in April of 2014 and 2016. As the alum settles, it removes algae and phosphorus from the water column. After settling to the bottom of the lake, it prevents phosphorus from being recirculated and used by algae. Alum treatments should have immediate and lasting impacts on water clarity.
Bald Eagle Lake at sunset. Photo courtesy of Jim Moore.
Rice Creek Watershed District 4325 Pheasant Ridge Drive | Suite 611 | Blaine, MN 55449 | 763-398-3070 www.ricecreek.org
Common carp: A mystery worth solving By Jessica Bromelkamp and Matt Kocian 4325 Pheasant Ridge Drive Suite 611 Blaine, Minnesota 55449 763-398-3070
www.ricecreek.org Established in 1972, the RCWD covers 186 square miles of urban and rural land in Anoka, Hennepin, Ramsey, and Washington Counties. Portions of the District can be found in the following municipalities: Arden Hills, Birchwood Village, Blaine, Centerville, Circle Pines, Columbia Heights, Columbus, Dellwood, Falcon Heights, Forest Lake, Fridley, Grant, Hugo, Lauderdale, Lexington, Lino Lakes, Mahtomedi, May Township, Mounds View, New Brighton, Roseville, Saint Anthony, Scandia, Shoreview, Spring Lake Park, White Bear Lake, White Bear Township, and Willernie. Board of Managers: Patricia Preiner, President Barbara Haake, 1st Vice President John Waller, 2nd Vice President Harley Ogata, Secretary Steve Wagamon, Treasurer Staff: Phil Belfiori, Administrator Kyle Axtell, Water Resource Specialist Jessica Bromelkamp, Education, Outreach and Communication Coordinator Chris Buntjer, Technical Specialist/ Permit Reviewer Elizabeth Hosch, District Inspector Patrick Hughes, Regulatory/Office Assistant Matthew Kocian, Lake and Stream Specialist Catherine Nester, District Technician/ Inspector Tom Schmidt, Public Drainage Inspector Theresa Stasica, Office Manager Nick Tomczik, Permit Coordinator/ Wetland Specialist Photo at top of front page by Ed Nater.
According to fishery biologists, the common carp has become, well, a little too common. Carp arrived in the United States in the late 1870s and were intentionally introduced to Minnesota waters for sport fishing by the 1880s. Although native to Central Asia, the common carp quickly began to flourish in its new surroundings and can now be found in all of the continental United States. The impacts of this once beloved fish on water quality have not gone unnoticed. These bottom-feeders often destroy aquatic plants, which provide habitat for fish and food for waterfowl. They also stir up the sediment found on the bottom of a lake or river therefore decreasing water clarity and making excess nutrients such as phosphorous more readily available for algae. This can lead to lakes with a muddy or green appearance due to excess algae growth. A single female carp can lay up to 3 million eggs. Once hatched, carp grow very quickly, and may live more than 50 years. These characteristics make them excellent competitors with native fish for food, spawning grounds, and habitat. If left unchecked, common carp populations have the potential to grow very rapidly. This may have serious consequences for some of the RCWDâ€™s lakes and streams. The RCWD is working with the University of Minnesotaâ€™s Aquatic Invasive Species Research Center to better understand the spawning
Carp with radio transmitter. Photo by Nick Voss, MN GreenCorps, St. Anthony Village.
habits and seasonal movement patterns of carp. This information will be used by the RCWD to more effectively control carp populations in the future through management actions such as large-scale removals, blocking access to spawning areas, and providing native fish species with competitive advantages. In addition to working with the U of M, the RCWD partnered with the cities of St. Anthony, New Brighton, and Columbia Heights, the Three Rivers Park District, and commercial fishermen to capture and mark carp in Silver Lake on two occasions in 2013. This information was used to create a population estimate. During these studies, several of the fish being captured were also implanted with radio transmitters. These individuals will be tracked throughout the year to learn more about the types of habitat being used for spawning. Ultimately, a largescale removal is also planned. Learning more about the population size and movement of carp will help determine whether carp management is warranted and the most effective corrective action.
Long Lake carp winter removal. Photo by Matt Kocian.
2 Rice Creek Watershed District Fall 2013 News
The aftermath of a controlled burn. Photo by Jason Husveth, courtesy of Critical Connections Ecological Services, Inc.
Spring regrowth after a fall burn. Photo by Jason Husveth, courtesy of Critical Connections Ecological Services, Inc.
2011 controlled burn at Brown’s Preserve. Photo by Jason Husveth, courtesy of Critical Connections Ecological Services, Inc.
RCWD uses fire to restore and manage wetlands By Jessica Bromelkamp and Tom Schmidt In 2012, the RCWD restored more than 100 acres of wetlands as part of a large drainage system maintenance project on Brown’s Preserve in Forest Lake and Columbus. The RCWD rerouted a public ditch running through the property and installed a water control structure on the old ditch in order to provide a more predictable and sustainable source of water for the wetlands on site. Several years of human interference, insufficient drainage, and the introduction of many non-native plant species led to this area’s decline.
Plants found in Minnesota before extensive European settlement in 1850 are considered native to the state. These plant species are well-adapted to Minnesota’s soil conditions and seasonal changes in temperature and precipitation and also provide essential food and habitat for local wildlife.
The RCWD is working with Houston Engineering and Critical Connections Ecological Services to manage and further restore the Brown’s Preserve wetlands. One effective way to restore native plants to the area is by conducting a controlled burn. The burn will remove years of accumulated dried plant material, promote new growth, and allow desirable native plants to re-establish and compete with their non-native counterparts. Successful burns require specific weather and wind conditions to ensure desired outcomes as well as the public’s safety. The RCWD worked closely with local experts to monitor weather conditions in preparation for the controlled burn at Brown’s Preserve on November 14, 2013. Public notices were posted on the RCWD website and sent to residents in the immediate area prior to the burn. We would like to thank District residents for keeping a safe distance during the burn to allow the crew to work carefully and effectively in order to further restore the Brown’s Preserve wetlands.
Small Purple Fringed Orchid (Platanthera psycodes). Photo by Ken Arndt.
Fall 2013 News Rice Creek Watershed District
4325 Pheasant Ridge Drive Suite 611 Blaine, Minnesota 55449 763-398-3070 763-398-3088 fax www.ricecreek.org
A new look and more opportunities to connect By Jessica Bromelkamp
RCWD staff has worked hard over the past year to redesign our website, logo, and newsletter to better reflect our stakeholders and provide the public with more easily accessible and detailed information about our work throughout the District. Visit ricecreek.org to see the following highlights:
• A new ‘Get Involved’ section with information about the ways in which residents, young people, and cities can help improve RCWD lakes and streams.
• A slideshow featuring all of the latest RCWD water quality and drainage system maintenance projects.
• Additional information about RCWD’s purpose and structure in the revised ‘About the RCWD’ section.
• Commonly asked drainage system maintenance questions and answers in the ‘Public Drainage’ section.
• Details about how and why the RCWD monitors lakes and streams, and the ways in which land use impacts water quality in the ‘Water Quality’ section. See more of what we’re doing on our social media sites: Facebook: RCWD’s new Facebook page provides more frequent updates about our work as well as a forum for interacting with our staff. YouTube: All Board meetings are filmed and posted on our YouTube channel, along with RCWD’s quarterly cable show, “Water is Everyone’s Business.”