Our SLA Prexy at the Boat Parade

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2016 July 4th Boat Parade

9 enthusiastic boats participated in the 4th of July Boat parade sponsored by the Serpent Lake Association.

The coveted traveling Paddle Trophy was captured by the Chura clan with their Harry Potter themed boat. Honorable mention went to the Stanton’s First Avenue float featuring Prince and Purple Rain! Thanks to all who participated and cheered from the shore. Hope you can join us next year!

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From the Brainerd Dispatch

(At Serpent Lake, a few trees and a lot of branches were down along Beach Road. At the Roger Anderson home, a tree hit the corner of the house, but luckily caused no damage).

BAY LAKE—Damage to trees, power lines, vehicles and buildings was evident Monday on a more than 3-mile stretch of Nokay Lake Road, south of Deerwood.

The damage came in the wake of a severe thunderstorm that charged through the Brainerd lakes area Sunday evening. Debris covered the roadway and trees were uprooted and snapped. The smell of freshly cut wood permeated the air as power company workers replaced poles and re-strung lines.

John Bowen, Crow Wing County emergency management director, said he spent most of the day Monday assessing storm damage with National Weather Service staff. They took lots of photos and will require a couple of days to analyze all the data, he said.

Trained spotters recorded funnel clouds in the storm system, Bowen said, but there’s no eyewitness evidence of a tornado. That doesn’t mean there wasn’t a tornado, he said, and there was “definitely rotation in the storm.” There were also microbursts present in the system.

Based on damage assessments, the NWS reported wind speeds ranging from 86-110 mph, Bowen said, and possibly isolated pockets with wind speeds more than 110 mph.

The only reported injuries from the storm occurred when two adults and a child were trapped in a mobile home near Nokay Lake Road south of Deerwood, Bowen said. A tree fell on the mobile home, trapping the three people inside. They suffered minor injuries, he said, and were released from the hospital.

“Thank goodness they only had minor injuries,” Bowen said.

Deerwood Fire Chief Mike Bodle, who is out of town but remained in touch with the department throughout its response, said firefighters responded to that call along with numerous reports of trees on power lines. The department cut through trees blocking a driveway Sunday to allow an ambulance to pass through and also responded to a cardiac arrest call because first responders were busy with other calls.

The damaged area starts about a mile west of Nokay Lake Road and moves east across Placid Lake before ending around Highway 6, Bowen said. There was some damage reported at Ruttger’s Bay Lake Lodge, he said, but most of the damage was to the west. One thing that stuck out while Bowen surveyed the damage was the size of the trees that were split or broken off.

Terry Sluss, external relations assistant director for the Minnesota region of disaster services for the American Red Cross, said Monday afternoon that although the group had mobilized a response vehicle in the storm area, no residents had requested services from them yet.

Residents begin cleanup

On the 18000 block of Nokay Lake Road, the driveway to the home of Jeff and Darla Swanson was impassable in at least three places, blocked by fallen trees. Closest to the road, gigantic white pine trees were torn cleanly from the earth, gaping holes left where their roots once anchored.

“That was my favorite stand of trees right there, it was absolutely gorgeous, those huge white pines,” Darla Swanson said.

She said they were on the road as the storm passed through Sunday evening, hardly able to see as rain and hail pounded. They headed to the Deerwood Fire Department after Jeff Swanson, a Deerwood firefighter, heard numerous calls related to the storm. From there, a trip home that would normally take five minutes took more than a half hour, Darla Swanson said, as they were forced to re-route to Highway 18 to access their home.

“There was debris and trees and live wires on the roads, so they wouldn’t let anyone through,” she said.

Neighbors, co-workers and others quickly jumped to the Swansons’ aid, helping to clear the estimated 30 to 50 trees downed on the family’s property.

“They just showed up with their chainsaws and helped,” Darla Swanson said, becoming emotional as she spoke. “I mean, people from not just the neighborhood here.”

The Swansons remained without power to their home about noon Monday, and were unsure when it could be restored. The pole connecting their home to the power grid was destroyed in the storm, and calls to multiple electricians did not offer any clarity.

“We’ve called every electrician in the area, and they don’t know when they can make it out,” Darla Swanson said.

Meanwhile, the Swansons are powering up a generator on occasion to keep food cool enough in the refrigerator.

A mile north, Jason Erickson was hauling cut logs from one of four downed trees in his yard. Erickson and his family were home during the storm, taking shelter beneath the stairs in the basement. Erickson said they went downstairs after he witnessed the first of the trees fall on a camper in the yard.

The front door of the home blew open, and Erickson said they could hear picture frames rattling on the walls and falling to the ground.

After the storm, Erickson came back upstairs to find the one tree he expected might fall from the wind gusts remained standing: the skeletal remains of a tree killed by a lightning strike three years ago. He said he’d called Minnesota Power just a week earlier because he was concerned the tree might be a threat to nearby power lines.

Massive hail falls

Residents of Nisswa, Pequot Lakes and Breezy Point in northern Crow Wing County experienced what many are saying is some of the largest hail they’ve ever seen.

Meteorologist Linda Ingebretson of NWS in Duluth said a colleague of hers had been working in northern Minnesota for more than 20 years and had never seen hail as big as what fell Sunday. A report of 4-inch hail, roughly the size of a softball, was submitted to NWS from a trained observer near Nisswa.

Bowen echoed those at NWS in stating he’d never seen hail that large.

Pequot Lakes Police Chief Eric Klang said he heard of numerous residents in the Pequot Lakes area whose property sustained damage from the giant hail generated by the storm. A squad car sustained minor hail damage while on Middle Cullen Road, northeast of Nisswa. Klang said a friend of his who lives in that area had damage to the roof of his home and the back window of one of his vehicles was blown out.

Greg Seils, owner of Crow Wing Auto Body in Pequot Lakes, said he completed 35 estimates on hail-damaged vehicles Monday and expects the rest of the week to be even busier as people talk with their insurance companies.

“We’ve never seen it this bad,” Seils said. “We’re just getting started here on them.”

He said he expected to complete in excess of 150 hail claims by the end of the week if the pace keeps up. It isn’t just small dents, either—Seils said they’ve seen numerous broken windshields, back windows and sunroofs along with big dents that could require the replacement of hoods and panels.

Although damage to trees and homes is minimal in comparison to that sustained during last summer’s massive supercell thunderstorm, Seils said he thought vehicle damage would be much greater from this storm due to the size of the hail.

Seils said the business itself also sustained damage, with the metal roofs on pole buildings dented by the hail.

Heavy rain fell along with the hail. The NWS reported .81 inches was recorded at the Brainerd Lakes Regional Airport within a 1-hour span. Brainerd, however, did not receive the brunt of the storm, with the most intense weather passing just to the north.

Power update

Char Kinzer, public relations manager with Crow Wing Power, said not many customers lost power in the wake of Sunday night’s storm. At the peak, there were 18 outages affecting 185 customers, she said. As of 4 p.m. Monday, 57 customers in the Placid Lake area were still without power.

“That was pretty damaged from what I understand,” Kinzer said.

Crow Wing Power hopes to restore power to customers in the Placid Lake area by Monday night, Kinzer said. If the line from a customer’s house to the pole is broken, though, they need to have an electrician fix it before power can be restored.

Kelley Eldien, senior communications specialist with Minnesota Power, said calls from customers about power outages started coming in about 6 p.m. Sunday. Thankfully, the scope of the storm was smaller than the July 2015 supercell thunderstorm, she said.

“I was cringing a little bit last night when I heard there were storms in Brainerd and Nisswa,” Eldien.

The storm affected Minnesota Power’s entire service territory, Eldien said, which stretches from the Iron Range south to Brainerd. Most of the affected customers were in the Crosby and Deerwood area, she said, as well as near Duluth and Cloquet. At the peak, there were 6,600 customers without power throughout the service area. This morning, that number was down to 800 and sat at 350 as of Monday afternoon.

Minnesota Power reported 1,745 customers were without power as of 7 p.m. Sunday night, affecting a large swath of customers in Ironton, Crosby, Trommald, Cuyuna and Deerwood. As of 4 p.m. Monday, there were 36 customers without power near Placid Lake and 66 customers without power in the Oreland area, just south of Deerwood. All customers should have their power restored by Monday night, Eldien said.

“They’ve made good, steady progress over the last 24 hours to restore everybody to power,” Eldien said.

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Timeline for Serpent Lake and the Serpent Lake Association

The Crosby Courier and SLA BOD meeting minutes is where the vast majority of the following information has been obtained:

1899 Year of the peak harvest of white pine in Minnesota. 1890-1910 was MN logging “heyday”.
1909 The City of Crosby is platted and developed as a planned community by George Crosby.
Serpent Lake now has 2 municipalities and 2 townships governing its shoreline activities.
Dam has been built at outlet of Serpent Lake to raise water level for future ferry service.
1910 Ingall’s ferry boat service begins (and continues until 1920) between Crosby and Deerwood.
1911 The first 42 iron ore cars leave Deerwood for the Superior, WI shipping docks on April 1.
1918 Tony Marsh swam from Crosby to Deerwood (approx 4.5 miles in 95 minutes) on August 4th.
1924 On Feb 5th Foley Lake floods Milford Mine killing 41 miners.
1926 City of Crosby connects Second St. South to Serpent Lake with a storm sewer pipe.
1941 No walleyes found in August survey nets set by Ken Carlander, DNR aquatic biologist.
1941 Ken Carlander took the first known water sample on Aug 18th. Total phosphorous was 18.5ppb.
1944 Serpent Lake has 2 resorts and 50-70 cottages on its shoreline of 8.6 miles.
1949 No walleyes found in August survey nets, but abundant ciscos and large pike are present.
1952 Walt Heineman reports that the DNR stocked 30,000 bass fingerlings on July 18th.
1955 George Bedard, Deerwood, spears a 30 lb NOP off Thompson point (verified by Courier photo).
1956 Bureau of Fisheries removed 21,000 pounds of stunted fish between July 12th and July 18th.
1956 Bureau of Fisheries stocked 50,000 walleye fingerlings in Serpent Lake the last week of July.
1956 George Crosby observes his 91st birthday at his Hickory Lodge Resort on July 24th.
1958 Iron mining activity on the Cuyuna Range starts to be less and less every year.
1959 The first annual Cuyuna Chamber of Commerce ice fishing contest was on Jan 25, 1959.
1960 127 docks counted on Serpent Lake in August 1960 by three local Girl Scouts (Courier).
1962 The 1st haul of walleye “minnows” from Heineman Rearing Pond on July 10 (Courier).
1967 Armour No.2, the last MN underground iron ore mine, closes on June 1, 1967.
1970 Walleye fishing boom begins. The catch-rate is said to be excellent this year.
1972 The Cuyuna Range iron ore mining activity plummets to zero in 1972.
1977 Phil Koop enters MPCA Citizens Lake Monitoring Program (Secchi readings at Site 201).
1977 A 2,500 lb serpent, purchased by the Crosby Chamber of Commerce, is put up in the park.
1980 The last Scorpion snowmobile was manufactured in Crosby.
1985 A DNR/MNDOT boat ramp built at Deerwood Corner, just north of Deerwood on Hwy 201/6.
1986 MN DNR funds the city’s request to build the Crosby fishing pier.
1987 The walleye fishing boom that started around 1970 has tapered off.
1987 The DNR finds that Purple Loosestrife is abundant on the west and south shores of Serpent.
1987 Serpent has 280 homes, 50 trailers, and 37 cabins at resorts on a now “full” shoreline.
1988 Serpent Lake Sanitary Sewer District constructs three settling ponds on County Road 30.
1988 Deerwood closes public landing by Deerwood Bay Resort.
1989 June Steinke and Virginia Skeim get the ball rolling for a lake association on Serpent Lake.
1989 The first organizational meeting of the Serpent Lake Association is in October 1989.
1989 State of MN suggests that Cities and Counties meet the state’s minimum Shoreland Standards.
1989 The City of Deerwood stops using Cranberry Lake as its full-time municipal sewage lagoon.
1989 By-laws of the Serpent Lake Association filed with the state (Updates done in 1999 and 2005).
1990 Phil Koop is first President of the new SLA. SLA participates in the Crosby July 4th parade.
1990 The first Water Watch publication is sent to property owners and governmental units.
1993 SLA began participation in DOT Adopt a Highway Program (3 miles of Highway 210).
1993 SLA buys and installs 11 buoys to mark dangerous navigation sites on Serpent Lake.
1994 SLA participates in Neighborhood Watch Program around the lake.
1994 SLA begins water quality testing on six sites on Serpent Lake.
1994 SLA reported in August finding 12 sites where purple loosestrife has established.
1996 The city and SLA split the cost of a sign at the entrance to Crosby Memorial Park.
1997 The first directory of all property owners and by-laws is distributed to SLA members.
1997 A survey of the lake by the DNR is completed and distributed to lake residents.
1997 SLA works with DNR and City of Crosby to install a permanent outlet control structure.
1999 Paul Dyste was elected president of the SLA (sometime in the ‘90s).
2000 The second directory of all property owners and bylaws is distributed.
2001 Warren Lundsgaard is elected president of the SLA BOD.
2002 Chuck Provost is elected president of the SLA BOD.
2002 The third directory of all property owners and bylaws is distributed.
2003 Dick Gunderson is elected president of the SLA BOD.
2003 Major algae bloom from Sept 29th to Oct 6th (Smelly mat along 80% of north shore).
2003 PCA Office in St. Paul, MN lists Serpent Lake as “impaired” due to high levels of phosphorus.
2004 Spawning barrier in Peterson Creek to help reduce the numbers of stunted and starving NOP.
2004 Arlen Bowen starts water sampling for phosphorus in Cascade, Cranberry and Peterson Lakes.
2004 SLA pays to test 146 ISTS that have not been tested in the last 5 years. 30 failed & repaired.
2004 Paul Tesdahl is elected president of the SLA BOD.
2004 Curlyleaf Pondweed is found in 15 beds (20 acres) during a DNR survey in May 2004.
2005 Spawning barrier in Peterson Creek to help reduce the numbers of stunted and starving NOP.
2005 The State of MN restricts shoreland fertilizer use to the non-phosphorus type.
2005 Crow Wing County Shoreland Standards effective August 15, 2005 in townships.
2005 Joe Stanich is elected president of the SLA BOD.
2005 SLA counts 292 docks on Serpent Lake in August 2005.
2005 Crosby & Deerwood hire Community Growth Institute to help with Planning & Zoning.
2005 First treatment of Curlyleaf Pondweed using Aquathol-K began May 2005 (Cost: $6,000).
2006 Vandals remove spawning barrier causing the DNR to withdrawal without complete local support.
2006 Bob Hoeft is elected president of the SLA BOD.
2006 The fourth directory of all property owners and a copy of the bylaws is distributed.
2006 Purple Loosestrife reappears in 4 beds on or near Serpent Lake in July 2006.
2007 Brainerd DNR Fisheries classifies Serpent as a core lake (WAL stocked at 2 lbs per littoral acre).
2007 Two years of Curlyleaf treatment reduces mass 84% (in known and treated beds).
2007 Jeff Olson is elected president of the SLA BOD.
2007 A record number of safety buoys (27) are installed by SLA after the low water level in 2006.
2008 City of Deerwood contributes $1500 for treatment of Curlyleaf Pondweed (Passed 11/5/07).
2008 SLA has a booth at the Cuyuna Chamber of Commerce Trade Show on March 16-17th.
2008 August fish survey shows the 2004 spawning barrier produced a record number of 24+ inch NOP.
2008 Clark Marshall is elected president of the SLA (serves two terms, 2008 and 2009).
2008 MPCA reports that clarity is “almost certainly declining.” Estimated decrease is 1.6 ft per decade.
2009 LID with $50 tax to improve Serpent’s water quality is rejected by local County Commissioner.
2009 SLA funds used to help divert Crosby’s Cross Ave runoff into several rain gardens.
2010 Two year CWC Surface Water Assessment Grant begins for Cranberry Lake water testing.
2010 Wayne Brezina is elected president of the SLA BOD.
2010 SLA July 4th boat parade winner is a cake with candles celebrating Crosby’s 100th birthday.
2010 The fifth directory of all property owners was distributed at the annual meeting on June 26th.
2010 Rough fish kill observed after high NW winds for several days in the second week of August.
2010 The clarity readings since 1977 continue to decrease 1.6 ft per decade due to phosphorus.
2011 Two year Partnership (MPCA+CWC SW) Grant to collect data and model SL’s clarity trend.
2011 SLA spends $20,000 to treat 49 acres of Curlyleaf Pondweed in Serpent Lake on May 27th.
2011 Annual meeting had 70 members attend on June 25th at Salem Lutheran Church at 8:30 AM.
2011 The SLA website, www.serpentlake.org, is up and running.
2011 SLA July 4th boat parade has ten boats circle the lake in a CW direction from 4 to 5:30 PM.
2012 Serpent Lake impervious surface is 14.5% within 500 feet of the lake (Highest of all CWC lakes).
2012 Secchi disk readings average 12.09 ft indicate lowest clarity found since testing began in 1977.
2013 ClearCast used to treat Curlyleaf Pondweed instead of Aquathol-K that was used since 2005.
2013 Hundreds of panfish found on west shore after an all-day strong wind from the east on June 21st.
2013 BATHTUB model of phosphorous loading by CWC, MPCA and Emmons/Olivier Resource, Inc.
2013 Lee Uglem is elected president of the SLA BOD.
2013 Two sites are tested for Total Fe and Ortho Phosphorus to confirm model’s sediment P loading.
2013 SLA is named the “Crow Wing County’s Conservationist of the Year” by CWC SWCD.
2014 BWSR grant interview on Jan 29th in St. Paul for Serpent Lake Clean Water Implementation Plan.
2014 CWC SWCD is fiduciary for $1.2M SWSR grant to reduce runoff into Serpent Lake by 40%.
2014 Aquathol K used May 22 on Curlyleaf Pondweed. This AIS was not readily found a month later.
2014 CWC receives $202,000 state grant to fight AIS (Aquatic Invasive Species) in county lakes.
2014 CRMC in Crosby increases impervious surface south of MN210 to >80 % for new parking lots.
2015 CWC’s grant to fight AIS increases to $450,000 annually in 2015 and thereafter.
2016 SWSR grant used to reduce Serpent’s algae by treating Cranberry Lake with Aluminum Sulfate.
2016 At the June 18th Annual Meeting, Lee Uglem introduces Melissa Barrick, CWC SWCD, for updates on the SWSR projects. Curlyleaf Pondweed treatment continues this year.


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SWCD to complete aluminum sulfate treatment on Cranberry Lake

By BRAINERD DISPATCH on Jun 3, 2016 at 10:21 p.m.

The Crow Wing Soil and Water Conservation is working with the city of Deerwood and Serpent Lake Association to complete aluminum sulfate treatment to Cranberry Lake.

“Cranberry Lake has a legacy of excess phosphorus inputs from wastewater discharge,” said Melissa Barrick, district manager, in a news release. “Cranberry Lake has a direct connection with Serpent Lake under Highway 210. A two-year study determined Cranberry Lake to have highest amount of runoff going into Serpent Lake (57 pounds per year).”

Scientific studies show that aluminum sulfate is safe for fish, invertebrates, and humans. Aluminum sulfate is one of the naturally occurring substances that attract and bind excess phosphorus. Reducing phosphorus concentrations in lake water can have a similar clarifying effect by limiting the availability of this nutrient for algae production.

The treatment is planned for Monday and Tuesday. Boats with large tanks and sprayers will apply aluminum sulfate to Cranberry Lake, Deerwood. This project is part of $1.2 million grant to reduce runoff to Serpent Lake. Funding for this project is in part by the Clean Water Land Legacy Amendment through the Board of Water and Soil Resources Targeted Watershed and Serpent Lake Association.

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