2013 BPLA May Update

May 9, 2013

Since my April 5th letter went out, a lot has been happening on our lake.  We discovered another serious washout on the east side of our dam that caused a severe drop of 3 to 4 feet in our water level.  Crow Wing County responded very quickly to fix this new damage, and the temporary repair has already been done by Holmvig Excavating.  The water level is slowly starting to come back, but probably will not be back to normal for quite a while.  The repair consisted of removing the bogs that washed up against the dam after the second storm last summer, bringing in 320 yards of stone to fill in the east end of the dam, and placing 4 large jersey barriers along the east shoreline to help prevent further erosion (this is something that has never been done before). Some of the lake association board members attended the regular County Board meeting on April 23rd to discuss this temporary repair.  You may watch this meeting on the County’s website.  Click on the County Board link, go to meetings, and open the April 23rd meeting.  Then go to agenda item 9.2 and you can watch the whole discussion.  We will need to go before the Board in the very near future to discuss how we are going to pay for this temporary repair, which totaled about $26,000.00.  Of this, approximately $7,000.00 will be paid out of the FEMA funds we got last fall.  This leaves a balance of some $19,000.00 which is due to additional damage after the second storm last year and over the winter.  As of the end of 2012 we had $7,157.35 in our SSD fund and we will collect just under $10,000.00 from 2013 contributions.  This leaves an approximate balance of $2,000.00, which hopefully we can borrow from the County against the 2014 assessments.  If necessary, we have funds in our bank account to pay this excess.

At the April 23rd meeting we discussed going forward with looking for a more permanent solution to fix our dam.  We were warned by the County people that this could take a couple of years.  Within the next couple of months, we will be setting up an informal meeting with several key people.  These will tentatively include County personnel (our commissioner, the engineer, possibly the county attorney and treasurer), the head of the Crosslake Corps of Engineers dam (who has already agreed to attend), an engineer from Widseth Smith Nolting (who looked at our dam in 2010 when we were putting the Subordinate Service District together and agreed to attend this meeting at no charge to us), and folks from the DNR Waters and Fisheries departments to give input as to the affect extremely low water levels will have on our lake.  The board folks who are working on grants will also try to line up someone to discuss available grant monies, possibly from the State Lessard fund. If any of you have experience with requesting and writing grants and are willing to help, please contact us ASAP – we need your help!!!!!

Our website is up and running (see our address above) and will be updated frequently by our Web Master under the Lake News link as situations change.  There are some very good pictures posted which were taken by Richard Rammer and clearly show how serious this washout was.  I advise all of you to check the site regularly, as we will no longer be sending out letters every time something of importance happens.  It is just too costly for postage and printing and too time consuming to carry out.  I know there are several people on the lake who are not necessarily computer savvy, but perhaps you could have your kids or friends help you check out the website periodically.

All landowners are encouraged to contact all 5 of our County Commissioners to express your concerns about the dam and to let them know how important it is to maintain it.  I have to think everyone who has bought property on this lake since the dam was built in 1970 bought into the dream of owning a home on a lake in northern Minnesota, not of owning a house in the woods.  If the lake is allowed to revert to its pre-1970 status as a swamp (or as the DNR hydrologist I spoke to more nicely referred to it, as a “wetland”), our property values will sink unbelievably and everyone will have difficulty selling their homes.  It goes without saying that we would no longer be able to use the lake for recreational purposes like fishing, boating, etc.  At the April 23rd meeting the newest Commissioner (who was just elected last November and admittedly was not familiar with our history) initially expressed the thought that the County should not be at all involved and that our dam should be abandoned.  Thankfully, I think the other County people at the meeting brought him up to speed and made him aware that the matter was adjudicated at the 2010 SSD hearing and like it or not, the County is required to be involved even though the landowners are still financially responsible. We all need to contact the five Commissioners listed below to let them know how we feel about saving our lake and home values.  (FYI, Paul Thiede is the Commissioner for our district, but they will all have a say in whatever is decided for our future).

Franzen, Rosemary District 4          rosemary.franzen@crowwing.us 218-330-4813
Houge, Doug District 5          doug.houge @crowwing.us 218-330-0734
Koering, Paul District 1           paul.koering@crowwing.us 218-829-0544
Nystrom, Rachel District 3           rachel.nystrom@crowwing.us 218-829-1721
Thiede, Paul   District 2           paul.thiede@crowing.us 218-330-2070

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