AIS Update

The Lake Belle Taine Association has been fortunate to be the beneficiary of years of service by Tom Wenner as the lake's AIS coordinator. 

Tom has retired from the board so somebody was sought to fill Tom's very big shoes and we have been fortunate once again that another great person has stepped up to lead this critically important effort: Andrea Dutcher.

Here's Andrea's report on the state of our lake, what activities are being conducted to keep it free from AIS as long as possible, and most importantly, suggestions on what YOU can do to help!

First, an important note:

The Hubbard County FREE Decontamination Center is now open 7 days a week 10am-6pm. Call 218-252-6738 to make an appointment. If your or your guests’ watercraft have been in infested waters, it is critical that the watercraft be cleaned, drained and dried for five days or decontaminated. 

  1. Shoreline Monitoring

  • Thus far 12 of the 16 2-mile shoreline sections of LBT have been inspected for AIS.  (3 more sections will be completed this week.)  Thus far no AIS has been found in Lake Belle Taine.  Banded Mystery Snails are non-native and have been found throughout the lake but are not deemed a concern by the MN DNR.  

  • Eurasian Water Milfoil has been found near the public landing on Big Mantrap.  A 1-acre plot is being manually harvested by the DNR in hopes of eradicating or at least controlling its spread in the lake.

  1. Kudos

  • Super kudos for Campers Paradise for closing their boat ramp to launching into LBT and requiring campers to launch at the public landing after being inspected. (The lone exception is season-long campers who only use their boat on LBT.)  Campers Paradise also heavily subsidizes the extra hours we hire inspectors at the landing.

  • Kudos to the Krahns, Gallaghers and Gossens for volunteering to be new shoreline monitors this year.  Always nice to have eager, new faces.

  • Kudos to Dean Beilke for donating his time and expertise to make several two-headed rakes we use to pull up aquatic plants during shoreline inspections.

  • Kudos to the several lake property owners who volunteered to put zebra mussel monitors under their docks.

  1. How Can You Help???

  • We are still in need of volunteers for shoreline monitoring.  It entails a short training (@1 hour), checking a 2-mile section of the lake twice a year (@2 hours max each trip) and submitting a report after each trip (15 min max).  This is critical for the early detection of AIS in our lake.  AIS can be addressed if found early enough and in small sections.

  • Be an Eyes On The Water volunteer.  This entails checking your own shoreline throughout the summer, notifying the DNR or us if you suspect AIS, putting a zebra mussel monitoring tube under your dock and filling out a short questionnaire at the end of the season.  We especially need more tubes in the East Bay by the landing.

  • We are still in need of garden rake heads.  If you have a junky old garden rake you could donate, let me know.  If you see one at a garage sale for less than $5, please buy it and I’ll reimburse you.

  • Only launch your boat from the public landing where trained, certified DNR inspectors are on duty.  They are only there to help us protect our lake!!!!

  • Ask your guests who are bringing their boats where they last had their boat.  If it was in infested water, have them go to a DNR decontamination site before launching their boat in our lake.  Why take a chance on someone else’s boat infesting our waters??!!

  • ANY item that has been in a body of water infected by an AIS can transfer that invasive species to Lake Belle Taine! This includes things like scuba masks, swimming fins, or even beach toys or floating devices that have some water in them. So it's extremely important that you check your own items as well as any items that guests might bring to your cabin.

  • If you have to launch a boat from your own property, it should have been out of the water for 21 days.  If that is not possible, inspect the boat, trailer and motor carefully for any plant fragments and zebra mussels.  If you find ANY zebra mussels, then the rig needs to go to a decontamination center. The closest one to our lake is in Park Rapids and it's FREE!  A car wash is not hot or powerful enough to do the job.  And regardless of how long it's been out of the water, the boat bilge and live well must be dry and clean before launching.

  • Volunteer to be a shoreline monitor!!!  We need more shoreline monitors.  The LBT shoreline is divided into 16 sections for monitoring.  Twice a year volunteers harvest aquatic plants from the bottom in their sections and inspect them for AIS.  They then will report their findings to me.  At the end of the year, I will compile the reports and send them to the DNR.  (I also report immediately anything that might be AIS.)  Monitoring involves a couple of hours of plant ID training, then 2 hours of monitoring in late June/early July and another 2 hours in late August/early September.  Training and equipment is provided for free. You need to have some type of boat.

  • Volunteer to be part of "Eyes On The Water" – Learn about AIS and inspect your own shoreline and property throughout the summer.  Put a zebra mussel tube at the end of your dock and check it every few weeks.  Report any suspicious aquatic plant or animal.  You are also asked to fill out a 5-minute survey in the fall. You can learn more about the "Eyes on the Water" program by clicking here. 

Thanks to all of you who have been so kind and helpful as I’ve transitioned to this new role.  It is fun to meet new people and also to know that collectively our efforts are helping ensure that our lake stays clean and healthy for a long time.  Please feel free to call or email me with any questions or concerns.  If you would like a mini-seminar on what AIS looks like or want some DNR educational materials, let me know.

 

Andrea Dutcher

ajd3@cornell.edu

(607) 227-5931

©2020 by Lake Belle Taine Association.