History & DNR Grant Results Report
Further annual reports will be posted on the Communications tab with the Meeting Minutes

Invasive Species History and Grant Results Report

Coon Lake, Anoka County 

Note: all references to documents will be found on the Coon LakeImprovement Association (CLIA) website; www.coonlake.org   -  click on the Documents tab 

2003

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) took 29 samples with 4 of the 29 samples identified Eurasian Water Milfoil (EWM) in three areas of the lake (~9.5 acres).

The Coon Lake Improvement Association (CLIA) worked with the city of East Bethel to obtain funds ($2500) to complete a fall treatment of two of the areas (~8 acres).

CLIA applied for a DNR grant to treat the third area (~1.5 acres near the public access off of County Road 22). 

2004

The third area (~1.5 acres) was approved and treated in the spring using DNR grant money.  All treatments were completed utilizing: 

a)         DNR licensed applicators

b)         DNR approved herbicides specifically targeted for EWM

c)         DNR recommended dosages. 

CLIA initiated EWM spotter teams.  DNR aquatic plant management specialist Chip Welling was enlisted to hold training classes on aquatic plant identification followed by on-the-water training.  The lake was divided up into eleven geographic areas with each area assigned to individual spotter teams.  The CLIA spotter teams identified a fourth area of abundant EWM.  They also noted one of the fall 2003 treated areas (6.5 acres) showed common to abundant areas of EWM. 

CLIA worked with the City of East Bethel on a DNR grant ($6500) to complete an aquatic plant survey.  The grant was accepted and Osgood Consulting was hired to handle the lake assessment.  The assessment included 267 samples taken along 89 shoreline tangents @ 100’, 200’ and 300’ increments and can be viewed at “EWMSurvey04”. 

2005

The 2004 aquatic plant survey was published, showing the presence of EWM in 61 of the 267 samples taken. 

CLIA retreated one of the 2003 areas (6.5 acres) and treated a fourth area (identified by the spotter team), 1.6 acres. 

The CLIA board made a decision to explore alternative funding methods in an effort to reduce the spread of EWM, CLP and other exotic species.  After exhaustive research, it was determined that the volunteer organization reached it’s limitations to raise the funds necessary to be effective at minimizing growth of EWM with the treatment and control methods designed and approved by the DNR. 

The CLIA board’s decision was to form a dedicated committee to research and initiate efforts toward becoming a Lake Improvement District (LID) to share the responsibility and costs equitably amongst all property owners abutting Coon Lake. The Coon Lake Improvement District Advisory Committee (CLIDAC) acted in accordance to suggestions from representatives of the DNR to limit the focus of the LID to the single issue of a Lake Management Plan.  The CLIDAC paralleled the successful efforts of other LID’s recently formed in the State of Minnesota and presented it’s preliminary petition to Anoka County Property Tax Records Division and the Anoka County Attorney’s Office for review. 

2006

All four of the previously treated areas were infested with EWM (common to abundant) with an additional 25 acres (common to abundant) not previously reported. CLIA applied for DNR grant money for treatment of ~20 acres in three separate areas.  The DNR accepted treatment in two of the areas (~13 acres). CLIA disbanded the spotter teams.

In August 2006, the CLIDAC proposed that a Lake Improvement District (LID), as allowed by Minnesota Statutes 103B.521, be established by the county or by petition to the county by a majority of the property owners within the proposed District. It was proposed that the District be limited to the property abutting Coon Lake to minimize the taxing district and to focus the impact and responsibility directly to those property owners having a vested interest and potentially being the best stewards of Coon Lake.

The CLIDAC received signatures from a majority of people and parcels within the proposed LID, and serving in the best interest of the property owners of Coon Lake and with the understanding that the growth and spread of EWM would not wait for any political exercise, the CLIDAC, representing CLIA and the majority of Coon Lake homeowners, respectfully requested that the Anoka County Board of Commissioners establish Coon Lake as a LID by resolution of the County Board to promote greater local involvement in lake management activities. 

2007

CLIA identified 13 areas of EWM infestation as candidate treatment areas.  The DNR Department of Ecological Services (Wendy Crowell) did a lake survey on 6/20-21 and identified 14.5 acres for DNR grant money.  Wendy’s report is available at “EWMDNR07”. 

2008

On January 8, 2008, the Anoka County Board of Commissioners ordered the establishment of the Coon Lake Improvement District (CLID) via Resolution # 2008-10 with five appointed interim directors.           

CLIA hired independent lake survey specialist Kelly LaFortune to complete two separate aquatic plant surveys using the DNR point intercept methodology.  The first survey was completed in June and the second survey in August.  In the June survey, the most common aquatic plant in Coon Lake was the invasive species Curly Leaf Pondweed (Poyamogeton Crispus or CLP) that was found in 61.1% of the stations sampled.  The other non-native aquatic plant, EWM (Myriophyllum Spicatum), was found in 31% of the stations sampled.  Kelly’s June 08 report is available at “EWMCLPSurveyJune08”.           

The August survey showed that the presence of CLP was drastically reduced.  This is due in part to the life cycle of CLP as it is normal for it to be absent or reduced in the month of August. The August survey for Coon Lake showed CLP present at .6% of the stations sampled.  The EWM was 32.7% of the stations sampled.  LaFortune’s August 2008 report is available at “EWMSurveyAug08”.   

The DNR added additional requirements for receiving grant money for invasive species control/management (DNRWaterQual08).  Included in the new requirements is a water quality plan, which CLIA authored and is implementing (CLWaterQualPlan08). 

In July, the CLID held its first annual meeting and the CLID property owners elected five board members and approved the 2009 budget, treatment plan and property tax assessment charge. 

2009

CLIA purchased two Global Positioning System (GPS) units to complete delineation work and reestablishes invasive species spotter teams.  Classroom and on-the-water training was provided by DNR representatives and CLIA members.  The spotter teams identified and mapped candidate areas consisting of level 3 and 4 (density) EWM for June treatment candidates.  The June treatment was financed and managed by the Coon Lake Improvement District (CLID).  Professional Lake & Land Management (PLM) on behalf of CLID treated a total of 73.3 acres for EWM.  A performance clause listed by CLID in the PLM contract ensured that a minimum success rate of 90% would be achieved. Spotter team and PLM investigations confirm the performance clause was met.  

In July, the CLID held its second annual meeting and the CLID property owners elected one board member and approved the 2010 budget, treatment plan and property tax assessment charge. 

CLIA again hired LaFortune to complete an August aquatic plant survey. Eurasian Milfoil was present at 24.8% of the stations sampled.  Kelly’s August 09 report is available at “EWMSurveyAug09”. 

2010

Early in 2010, the CLID Board contracted with Lake Restoration, Inc. (LRI) to treat the east lake and PLM to treat the west lake. The purpose for dividing the lake into two sections for treatment control has multi-purpose benefits. The CLID board is acting on the behalf of over 450 homes and representing over 725 people and their money. The effort is to be financially prudent, receive experiential information relating to treatment controls for maximum benefit, and may be able to recognize differing treatment styles to be more aware of factors that dictate results. As directed by the DNR, two permits were submitted in January as two applicators were treating the lake and their own permit should represent each firm.

The Coon Lake Improvement District (CLID) was accepted into a Bay-wide Pilot Project Program as per a Lake Vegetation Management Plan (LVMP) for the control of Curly Leaf Pondweed (CLP) in the east basin of Coon Lake for a period of five years from 2010-2014. A request for a full grant for treatment reimbursement was submitted on behalf of the CLID prior to January 18, 2010 to treat CLP on a bay-wide basis and was approved for the amount of $15000.

One of our spotter team members had done GPS waypoint shoreline delineation and identified 5 areas to treat for CLP in the east lake. As previously noted by the June 2008 survey, CLP was found in over 60% of sampled stations in the entire lake. When the DNR came to approve the sites requested, they did not do a verification/delineation in the traditional sense on the 5 candidate areas. They used the 100 meter point transect survey which fell within or near some of the areas that were identified but missed key areas identified by our spotter. It seems then using the information obtained from both surveys, the DNR created the treatment polygons in the office rather than in the field. This was disappointing to the CLID Board and many residents as our expectation by the States own Grant Agreement was to arrange for a contractor to treat all of the curly-leaf pondweed in the East Bay of Coon Lake “. And the DNR’s description of the program purpose specifies, “Lake-wide (or bay-wide) treatments are those that attempt to treat all, or almost, all of the target plant in a lake or bay." However, more acreage was added to broaden the large area on the north end of Beach Bay out from the county beach for a total of 67 acres approved for treatment by permit. Our hope is that the DNR use the same method of delineating CLP as we had performed and expected, that being the methodology that they had trained us to use and that they have used for authorizing EWM treatment areas since 2004, that being a true delineation. An additional 11.5-acre area in the West Arm was delineated by the CLIA spotter team and approved by the DNR for treatment with no alteration. The DNR then suggested using one of the permits previously submitted and to reserve the other for EWM treatment rather than to use them for individual applicators. The treatments were done timely and with in the temperature range prescribed by the DNR. 

Subsequently, according to reports from many residents and spotter team members, the results of the treatments for CLP were very successful and the navigation has been greatly improved with expectations of improving water quality reports in the future. 

A request using the remaining permit to treat the east lake for EWM was submitted on May 6th.  The spotter team delineated 10 candidate areas consisting of 76.3 acres with much of the area within the 150’zone requiring property owner signatures. The west lake had 5 candidate areas consisting of 67.3 acres delineated but limited EWM that required lake resident signatures so the intent was to submit a nuisance grant request separately with a third permit. A call was received by the CLID Chairman to combine the treatments on the one permit and to include the west lake treatment on the same permit when the grant was approved so as to expedite the DNR’s approval by not having to go to the lake twice for authorizing the requested delineated areas. Finally on June 22nd, and after a period of nearly 7 weeks, the permit was received to treat. The nuisance grant to treat EWM in the west lake was applied for in early June and approved (completely executed) on June 28th. The grant request was approved in the amount of $7800. The DNR approved seven treatment areas on the east lake and reduced the request to 16.7 acres and three areas of 36.4 acres on an amended permit (they failed to recognize our explanation when submitting the delineation of the Sand Flats as being heavily used) for the west lake.

It was a major disappointment to have the east lake reduced to 7 areas with two of the areas totaling nearly 10 acres. This caused added expense to the district as the acreage was reduced significantly and that more chemical was required for these small spots to ensure adequate contact exposure. To explain this cost overage in more detail, our quote was $192 for 50–99 acres and the district was charged $412 per acre, more than twice the cost expected per acre. It is also disappointing to note that the treatments did not occur until after July 4th after an extended period of growth and exposure of EWM when the east lake could have been done in May and the west lake by mid June at the latest. 

Reports of the EWM treatments on both the east and west lake appear to be successful, however there are still areas of nuisance EWM that many of the lake residents have commented should have received treatment. It is the intent of the CLID to learn what needs to be resolved to expedite the process and allow the treatments and treatment areas to satisfy the objective within the parameters of the LVMP. 

Ongoing efforts by CLIA, CLID, the DNR and private professional lake services organizations such as Kelly LaFortune, PLM, Lake Restoration and other interested parties will continue to protect the quality of Coon Lake and protect the best interest of the property owners and users of Coon Lake.

2011

In 2011, the CLID Board contracted with Lake Restoration, Inc. (LRI) to treat the lake for Curly Leaf Pondweed (CLP) and with Professional Lake and Land Management Corp. (PLM) to treat the lake for Eurasian Watermilfoil (EWM). The same two firms were chosen in 2010, but the lake was divided into two sections for treatment control by both firms to receive experiential information relating to treatment controls for maximum benefit, and to be able to recognize differing treatment styles to be more aware of factors that might dictate results. Being both firms were successful with 90% kill rate and no major issues of results, it was decided to award this years contract to the lowest bidder. The Request For Pricing was sent out to nine firms for quotes and as in the past, these two firms came in with the best prices. The CLID board aims to be financially prudent acting on the behalf of over 450 homes and representing over 725 people and their monies.

All 52.9 acres of the CLP delineated in Coon Lake was treated in May. All of the expense for the spring treatment for the east bay that included the $750 permit fee was reimbursed by a grant of $7,537.30. Last year, as specified in the 2010 Report, there was a miscommunication or lack of follow thru for treatment approval of CLP.  That was rectified for 2011 as this year all of the CLP in the east bay was treated. According to reports from many residents and spotter team members, the results of the 2011 treatments for CLP were very successful and the navigation has been greatly improved with expectations of improving water quality reports in the future. 

42.1 acres of the requested 106.3 acres for Nuisance EWM were treated in June. This is still an unacceptable ratio of invasive species left untreated and we are trying to hone in, understand and comply with the requirements and rules that the DNR is enforcing to either protect the invasive plants or their jobs. I’m not certain of which is more appropriate, and to use a cliché, am not a rocket scientist but I have a good guess! (To any MN DNR Staff that would like to discuss this, feel free to contact me). The CLID applied for and received a Nuisance EWM Grant for $10,000 as partial reimbursement for EWM treatment. We are grateful to the State and more specifically to the Grants Coordinator, Wendy Crowell for her work to inform us and to assist with our successful bid for these grants.

Reports of the EWM treatments on both the east and west lake appear to be successful, however there are still areas of nuisance EWM that many of the lake residents have commented should have received treatment. It is the intent of the CLID to determine what needs to be resolved to allow the treatments and treatment areas to satisfy the objective within the parameters of the LVMP.

We experienced difficulty receiving signatures allowing treatments that might occur within the 150’ shoreward zone and missed treating over 2 dozen properties for the urgent temperature sensitive treatment of CLP. Legislation was recently passed to allow the signature requirement to be waived and we have requested to be approved for this waiver. With some minor detail work with Sean Sisler of the Dept of Fisheries, we will be adopting language to be included on the CLID annual letter to be sent early in April that will inform property owners of the Annual Meeting and how to opt out of herbicide treatments rather than expect them to furnish their signature allowing them to occur.