MASWCD/MPCA Community Partnership Award

     Congratulations to SummerPlace residents and the Cityof Deerwood! They are the recipients of the 2016 MASWCD/MPCA Community Partnership Award for the Summer Place/Deerwood Stormwater project.  The award was presented at the MASWCD annual convention in December. Excepting the award was Deerwood Mayor Mike Aulie and Summerplace resident and SLA board member Pat Norby.

                                           (Following is the official announcement)

 Deerwood Presented a State Award for Runoff Project

BRAINERD, MN – December 5, 2016– The City of Deerwood and Summer Place Association were presented the 2016 Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) Community Partnership Award. The award was presented as part of the Minnesota Association of Soil and Water Conservation District Convention.




At Monday’s convention, MPCA Commissioner John Linc Stine presented the award to the city of Deerwood and Summer Place Association Photo: John Linc Stine, right, prepares to present the awards.

In 2015-2016, the City of Deerwood, Serpent Lake Association, and Summer Place Association partnered to complete a major stormwater retrofit project. This project now filters polluted runoff and helps control the flooding problem at Summer Place Residents faced in 2012. The City also worked with Crow Wing County to donate two parcels of tax forfeited land for this project. The City donated an additional 16,000 square feet of land for this project and Summer Place Association donated 6,500 square feet.



Left to Right: Jay Michaels, EOR Britta Hansen, Robert Albrecht, Crow Wing SWCD Supervisor, Pat Norby, Summer Place Association, Melissa Barrick Crow Wing SWCD, and Mayor Mike Aulie, of Deerwood.

Melissa Barrick, District Manager stated, “This project serves as a great example of community partnership, innovative stormwater management techniques, and solving a residential flooding problem. Despite the major storms that occurred in the Summer of 2016, this project is working and thriving (June 20, 2016 and July 14, 2016 they received11 inches of rain in 24 hours). Without this project, residents would have been flooded and additional nutrients added to Serpent Lake.”



This project was funded by the Board of Water Soil and Resources Clean Water Fund Targeted Watershed. This project is part of bigger effort to reduce runoff to Serpent Lake. For more information on this project contact Melissa Barrick via e-mail or 218-828-6197.

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Serpent Lake Association News

MASWCD/MPCA Community Partnership Awards!
Congratulations to Summer Place residents and the City of Deerwood! They are the recipients of the 2016 MASWCD/MPCA Community Partnership Award for the Summer Place/Deerwood Storm Water Project. The award will be presented at the MASWCD Annual Convention in December. Well done!
Zebra Mussel Inspection
We want to remind lake property owners to carefully inspect docks and boatlifts once they are out of the water. Several recent zebra mussel confirmations have been made because of vigilant lake property owners, lake service providers, and watercraft inspector across the state [not in Serpent Lake]. Minnesota law requires docks and boat lifts to be out of the water for at least 21 days before putting them in another body of water. This requirement is an important tool for preventing the spread of zebra mussels and other aquatic invasive species.
Zebra mussels are an invasive [non-native] species that can compete with native species for food and habitat, cut the feet of swimmers, reduce the performance of boat motors, and cause expensive damage to water intake pipes. Less than two percent of Minnesota’s 11,842 lakes are listed as infected with zebra mussels. Along with requiring docks and lifts to be out of the water for 21 days before putting them into another body of water, Minnesota law requires boaters and angler to:
o Clean their watercraft of aquatic plants and prohibited invasive species.
o Drain all water by removing drain plugs and keeping them out during transport.
o Dispose of unwanted bait in the trash.
Some invasive species are small and difficult to see at the access. To further reduce risk of transport, take one or more of the following precautions before moving to another body of water, especially after leaving infested waters:
o Spray with high-pressure water.
o Rinse with very hot water [120 degrees Fahrenheit for at least two minutes or 140 degrees Fahrenheit for at least 10 seconds.
o Dry for at least 5 days
More information is available at for those who are interested in learning more.
New Directories
New SLA directories were printed in May of this year. These directories list Serpent Lake homeowners, and include listings of people by zone. It is a valuable tool to help learn who your neighbors are around the lake. Directories are provided FREE to SLA members, and were delivered by Zone Leaders to everyone who had paid up their membership by the end of May. If you have not yet received a directory, please join the Serpent Lake Association for 2016-2017. Membership is only $25 and runs from June 1 – May 31 each year. Additional directories are available to members for $5 per copy. If you have any questions, please contact Ellen Uglem [].

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Membership Update

We are pleased to see that our membership numbers are equal to or ahead of last year at this time. PLEASE JOIN your neighbors and become a member of the Serpent Lake Association. We rely on the generosity of our property owners both monetarily and through volunteer opportunities to improve the quality of Serpent Lake. The work of the Serpent Lake Association has MADE A DIFFERENCE in the quality of YOUR lake. We currently have 179 members of the SLA. There are 104 lakeshore owners who currently do not belong to the SLA for 2016-2017 . What better way to support and project our beautiful Serpent Lake than to spend $25 to join the association? PLEASE JOIN!!!! If you noticed a red mark on your mailing label, your membership is not up to date. Please help the SLA continue to accomplish great things! Wouldn’t it be great if everyone who lived on the lake was a member? Invite your neighbors at the lake to join our association!
Donations to the Serpent Lake Association are TAX DEDUCTIBLE!
Don’t forget to make your tax-deductible donation before December 31st. All contributions to the Preservation Fund or the BWSR Match Fund are tax deductible. Please consider donating to the Serpent Lake Association before the end of 2016.

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President’s Corner

Lee Uglem
As I write this letter, it feels like June instead of November. We are having a great fall with high temps and little rainfall. It is weeks like these that beg the question; Why are our boats out of the water?
Here is a short summary of our Serpent Lake improvement projects. SummerPlace in Deerwood is complete and working great. The project treats so much stormwater before entering Serpent through the two basins and filtration system. We are hopeful the City of Crosby will consider a stormwater abatement project next year. Speaking of Crosby, the two rain gardens next to the City Hall were reconstructed this October to better filtrate stormwater before entering Serpent.
Thanks again to Oars N Mine for removing and cleaning the 24 lake buoys we have on Serpent. It was a tough year on the buoys with lots of wind and storms. We plan every year to replace two buoys to wear and tear. This coming year, we need to replace four buoys. We budget for replacement of two every year but need help this year for four. Please consider sponsoring the cost of a buoy [$150] as a year-end donation. It would be greatly appreciated.
We are in the final preparation of updating our 2017 Lake Manual needed for applying for weed treatment permits and grant writing for MN DNR lake grants. Thanks to Terry Tichenor for his work and interest in compiling all the necessary information needed for the manual.
The association is going to educate and facilitate the help needed to any lake owners interested in buffering their lakeshore next year. Rain garden development on lots to catch and treat stormwater off roofs and driveways will also be a priority. By catching and treating stormwater around the Serpent lakeshore, we hope to reduce the amount of phosphorous entering the lake by 20%. This will greatly improve our efforts on reversing the degradation of water quality of Serpent over the last 30 years. Please consider a small project on your property next year.
All in all, it has been a great summer for the association. Projects completed, projects planned, fun socials attended by members, and many new members joining with an enthusiastic attitude of volunteering and being good stewards toward the lake. Thanks for your support and I look forward to seeing you on the lake next spring.
— Lee Uglem, SLA President

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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,, 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 introduced Melissa Barrick, CWC SWCD, for updates on the SWSR projects. Curlyleaf Pondweed treatment continues this year.

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