TO BE A PART OF NATURE

By Bob Hoeft

Northern Pike are the top of the food chain for fish species in Serpent Lake. Because of that, an overabundance of Northern Pike have created problems for the thriving of other species, such as sunfish or stocked walleyes. The species at the top of the food chain that causes the biggest problem, however, is human beings. Homo sapiens. Yes, those of us able to read, (or write) this article.

That human beings are the biggest problem around Serpent Lake, or anywhere in the world for that matter, came to me in a recent visit to the Galapagos Islands where Charles Darwin explored and, as a result, promulgated the theory of evolution. Humans are at the top of the evolutionary chain and, as such, a part of nature itself. We are the result of nature taking its� course and producing a species that can dominate any other species or environment.

Normally, we, as humans, do not think of ourselves as part of nature. It seems, however, that we are, unless of course you do not believe in evolution. (Stop reading here if you don�t believe in evolution). Even if we do believe in evolution, however, we still think and act often as if we have no appreciable effect on nature. Science tells it differently, however, and we are reminded by daily news reports of problems with water and air pollution, global climate change and invasive or threatened species all caused by human activity.

To get to the point: our place in nature as creatures able to manipulate our environment in ways that no other species can is cause to think about every alteration we make to the piece of earth that we call our own or can change by our actions. Unlike Northern Pike who only go on instinct, we have the cognitive power to transcend our instincts and desires and do what would keep our environment healthy and protect other species..

We are not above nature; we are a part of it. At the same time we are only part of a larger whole with a unique power among all living things. Let us choose to live with respect for the earth and all that is upon it.

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President’s Corner

Lee Uglem
Happy Holidays from Serpent Lake
The ice is getting thicker every night and fish houses are starting to be positioned for the early bite! If we can get at least 12 inches of good ice before the next big snow, we will be in good shape for fishing, skiing and sledding this winter. Please, no slush this year!
The BWSR-Serpent Lake Restorations Project- is slowing along. The engineers are still putting the plans together for Summerplace in Deerwood. Once the plan is completed, the folks at Summerplace will either accept the plan or reject it. The engineering firm of EOR is also studying the storm water plan for the city of Crosby. Using best management practices, they will put together a plan to treat storm water in Crosby that runs into Serpent. The majority of storm water in Crosby is directed to Serpent Creek that flows through the mine pits to the Mississippi River. More on that next year.
A meeting is being planned for this spring for representatives of the cities of Crosby and Deerwood, Irondale Township and Crow Wing County. The agenda for the meeting will be lakeshore ordinances dealing with storm water runoff. Buffering of lakeshore, rain gardens, lakeshore preservation, building codes, etc. will be discussed. There is no sense in making improvements in water quality of Serpent to let the lake again in 10 years start to decline. We need to be diligent in making changes and continue to improve our efforts as good stewards of the beautiful lake we live on.
We are behind on our fund raising for both the Preservation Fund ($15,000) and the BWSR Grand Fund ($12,000). Before the end of the year, consider a donation to the SLA for either or both of the funds. All donations are tax deductible. Please help if you can.
That is all for now. Have a great holiday season. Looking forward to seeing everyone next spring!
Regards, Lee Uglem, SLA President

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HALLETT CHARITABLE TRUST SUPPORT

The Hallett CharitableTrust Board has sent the SLA a check for $20,000 to help fund our Serpent Lake restoration. They recognized the importance of the $1.2 million dollar grant from BWSR for the restoration of Serpent Lake. There is a $300,000 cash match over 4 years for the project. The $20,000 donation from the Hallett CharitableTrust will be applied toward the match. We are very grateful for their support. Thank you to the board trustees and thanks to Bruce Butler for all his hard word in preparing the application

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Christmas Gift Ideas

 

 

 

 

Do you have a friend or family member who is hard to buy for?

  • How about a Serpent Lake tote bag to use on the boat or in the car? The bags come in red, lime, tangerine, forest green, pink and purple, and are $25. Check out the bags on the SLA website. Contact Deb Weide [218- 546-6749] for more information.
  • For your friends who have everything and need nothing……consider making a donation to the SLA Preservation Fund or the BWSR Match Fund in honor of your friend.
  • Serpent Lake Bumper Stickers [$10] are available to get the word out about our gorgeous lake. Contact Deb Weide [218- 546-6749] for more information.
  • Do you have a neighbor on the lake who is not a member of the Serpent Lake Association? Give them a membership for Christmas and stress the importance of belonging to our great organization.
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WHAT EACH LANDOWNER CAN DO TO IMPROVE THE QUALITY OF WATER IN SERPENT LAKE

By Bob Hoeft

How fortunate are property owners on Serpent Lake! A quality lake in a great location; beautiful to view and wonderful to recreate on or in! Though the lake has suffered in clarity over the past 25 years, we now have a grant and a matching requirement that will result in over a million dollars to reverse the trend and continue to improve water quality for ourselves and future generations.

Raising the funds for the matching part will require work, but I suggest here that we have an equally important challenge in front of us. True, the grant funding will allow us to employ engineering and expertise toward projects such as reducing runoff from Deerwood and Crosby, reducing phosphorus entering the lake from Cranberry Lake, and working toward common standards for lakeshore development.

However, encouraging each landowner on Serpent Lake to accept personal responsibility for practicing environmentally sound lakeshore management on an individual basis is an equally significant aspect of our water quality management.

The concerns and actions of individual practices can take several forms. As Serpent Lake property owners, here are several things to which we can devote our time and attention in support of meeting our goals.

1.Reorient our thinking with regard to lakeshore development: what nature has placed there in the first place is beautiful, not what we are sold by fertilizer and grass seed advertising. (For further information, see: “A Paradigm of Natural Beauty.”)
2.Understand the collective impact of individual decisions. Each property owner’s decision about their landscaping makes a difference in the health of the lake. An especially good book in this regard is For Love of Lakes by Darby Nelson. (See also: “What Difference Does it Make?” )
3.Control shoreline erosion using best practices, especially the use of bio-logs instead of riprap. (For a personal homeowner’s account, see “A Tale of Shoreline Erosion.”)
4.Impede potentially polluting runoff by making yards smaller, allowing more natural growth in wide margins. (See “Shrinking Your Yard.”)

Resources are available to help with decisions about our own personal landscaping from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources and the Crow Wing County Soil and Water Conservation District.

Congratulations and thank you to Lee and Ellen Uglem (and any others not know by this writer) for bravely going forward with a landscaping transformation using these practices this past summer!

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