The impact that invasive species of plants, fish and invertebrates can have on the Pelican Lakes is a great concern to our members, and PLA is taking many steps to address these concerns.
With the presence of zebra mussels in Big Pelican, along with the continued presence of curly leaf pond weed in a few areas, we have active infestations that need to be monitored and managed. Beyond this, there are dozens of additional invasive species of concern that are not present in Pelican Lakes, some of which are present in other area lakes, and we must remain actively committed to minimizing the risks that they will appear. The following sections described our actions on AIS.
For a number of years now Pelican Lakes Association has been funding and organizing boat ramp inspectors to be trained on regulations and best practices to reduce the risk of spreading AIS by boat, and being present at our landings to share this information and to assist boaters in complying with these rules.The Board has been actively recruiting and managing schedules for these dedicated and helpful people, keeping a stable and well-trained team in place. Over the past three years there has been state funding for a certain level of staffing coordinated through Crow Wing County. PLA welcomes this support, advocates for our fair share, but continues to fund additional hours directly to be sure we cover our landings for the full boating season. We are very grateful for these dedicated people and the help and information they provide to users of the Pelican Lakes.
Early detection and action can be very important way to control aquatic invasive species (AIS). Pelican Lakes Association has put in place a proactive lake survey program with a qualified lake inspection firm in 2017. These efforts increase our ability to detect and move to remedy any new AIS infestations. This is a practice that some other lake associations have put in place, and we will be learning more about what has been effective, and affordable, from our neighboring associations. The focus is around the landing areas where trailers/boats may be gathering or depositing vegetation. The first survey was completed in May of 2017 and has been followed up monthly. The final survey for 2017 was completed in September. May results detected curlyleaf pondweed in the “Breezy Bay” area. While this is not a new location for curlyleaf pondweed detection, it was in a slightly different area within the bay than previously treated. Curlyleaf pondweed was also detected in Jones Bay, which is a new location. Upon further follow-up by the DNR, due to the small amount, depth and low risk location, treatment was not necessary. Subsequent surveys did not identify any Eurasian watermilfoil or other exotic plants. The curlyleaf pondweed treated areas look great with abundant native plants growing and no curlyleaf pondweed present. No exotic plant species or zebra mussels were identified in Little Pelican. The strong support of our members makes these proactive steps possible. If you are interested in seeing the survery details, click here.
Pelican Lakes Association has taken the lead in hiring contractors to treat areas of curly leaf pond weed, directly and with funds it secures through grant writing. In addition, PLA volunteers have been testing for zebra mussels, continuing those tests in Little Pelican. While prevention is the best medicine, there are steps we can take to minimize the impact of AIS when detected, and we will continue to look for opportunities to work with government and private organizations to leverage the funds contributed by our members to manage the impact of AIS for our lakes. AIS Report here.
For all of the interest, concern and energy of our members and volunteers, the long-term challenge of the wide range of aquatic invasive species requires long-term scientific research to identify the best ways to control the impact of AIS. We are fortunate that the State of Minnesota and University of Minnesota have established a focused research center for this purpose. The Minnesota Aquatic Invasive Species Research Center (MAISRC) has been working on these important problems for a few years, with a growing base of researchers and funding. PLA joins other large lake associations in our area in supporting MAISRC. We value the work they have completed, the focus they bring to new challenges, and their willingness to hear from us directly about the questions most important to our members. Please visit the MAISRC site to learn more about this important long-term investment in the health of our lakes and lakes throughout the state and region and stay tuned for updates from MAISRC, including participation of its leaders in our Annual Member Meetings.
Our Pelican Lakes Association took a lead position in advocating for and establishing an AIS Detector program. Through this program, now managed by the U of M Extension and MAISRC research center, citizens are trained in visually identifying the wide range of fish, plants and invertebrates that are invasive, and look-like which are not. The first team of trained AIS Detectors included a number of PLA members and landing monitors. The program will expand to other regions in 2017. These trained detectors will serve as first-call responders to reports of possible AIS sightings, to help ensure agency personnel are called to respond to accurate sightings in a timely fashion, and to eliminate false alarms that can be very taxing on their time.
In partnership with Pelican Square, Inc., PLA established a boat decontamination station located in the car wash operated by Pelican Square at the intersections of County Roads 4 and 11 in Breezy Point. Boaters, at no charge, can have their watercraft decontaminated by DNR-trained Level 2 operators. Hours are posted at Pelican Square and at all the boat ramps. PLA covers the cost of this service through member contributions and grants. Boaters can purchase other boat cleaning services if they wish to. Decontamination is an excellent means to prevent the spread of new AIS into Pelican Lakes, and to prevent the spread of zebra mussels from Big Pelican to other locations. We are proud to offer this unique service and appreciate the cooperation and support of the Pelican Square staff, as well as city, county, and state officials providing training and grants to help offset these costs.
Pelican Lakes Association (PLA), in cooperation with Pelican Square, the City of Breezy Point, Crow Wing County, and the Minnesota DNR, was pleased to begin operating a boat decontamination station at the site of the new Pelican Square car wash at the intersection of County Roads 4 and 11 in Breezy Point in 2017.Fishing and pleasure boats can be driven straight into the covered facility without disconnecting trailers. The decontamination bay is large – even pontoons and boats with wakeboard racks will fit comfortably.
The facility is available to the public, and users do not need to be PLA members or area residents. Moreover, with the financial support of PLA and its partners, there is no charge to the user!
During boating season, users can call the number posted 218-546-3768 and request service. Immediate service is guaranteed Friday, Saturday, Sunday 11 am to 4 pm. Other times will depend upon the availability of an inspector. Service will be available into mid-September this season. We will be applying our lessons learned in the first year of operation to make the service as fully available as possible, in coordination with our partners. Look for updates on 2020 operations next spring here.
This station is an important asset in fighting the spread of aquatic invasive species. Using this service before and after using area lakes means boaters can move from one lake to the next while preventing the introduction and spread of AIS.
Pelican Lakes Association is investing significantly in establishing this capability, and thanks its members for the generous donations over the past years that made possible the one-time contribution to this new asset. There will be on-going expenses to PLA as the facility is used. We will continue to work with our partners and seek additional grants to support this important activity over time.
Please make use of the station and encourage your guests bringing boats to the area, and your friends using boats across the area, to make use of the new decontamination station.
An important part of controlling the spread of AIS is the training of dock installers and other lake service providers in recognizing and reporting the detection of AIS, and in proper practices to prevent the spread of AIS on lifts, docks, and other waterfront items. The Minnesota DNR provides training and publishes the list of permitted lake service providers at this LINK. Please check with your contractor on their participation in this training.
PLA Board and Committee members have volunteered their time to attend and participate in a series of public seminars and other educational opportunities to stay informed on the latest developments in AIS identification, prevention, and management. Recent events include the Aquatic Invaders Summit and Minnesota Aquatic Invasive Species Research Center Management Showcase. Materials and messages from these educational sessions are brought back to the Board and inform our actions on AIS.