Pelican Lakes Association of Crow Wing County

Pelican Lakes Association (PLA) Programs

Water Quality Testing

The excellent quality of the water in our Pelican Lakes is great attraction for users and property owners around the lakes. To keep informed on any changes in the quality of that water, PLA retains a testing firm to complete monthly evaluations throughout the summer on key water quality measurements. With this data, we are in position to detect any changes that require further examination. In the past, run-off issues have been seen and addressed through these test. Currently, extra focus is being placed on oxygen levels and temperature readings critical to understanding the habitat for game fish and the baitfish on which they rely. This data will help us understand the long-term impact of our efforts to preserve forestation in the watersheds surrounding the lakes, a critical measure in preventing warm water run-off.

The monthly water quality test results are summarized in annual reports that provide an excellent summary of the water quality for that year. LINK

Special testing was done last winter to check on water quality under the ice. Results are posted at this LINK. We can see that we need to continue to work to minimize run-off and to hold down the use of salt, on roads and in water softeners.

Taken together, these reports and the underlying data provide an important continuous record of changes in the lakes over time and can inform future actions.

Seedling Distribution

PLA participates in a Crow Wing County Soil and Water Conservation District (CWSWD) program to promote forestry in the watershed surrounding the Pelican Lakes. PLA purchases seedlings at a reduced rate from the county and distributes them to members and the public for planting. Over 2000 seedlings have been distributed in the last two years. Healthy forests filter rain water and reduce run-off, key factors for maintaining the cool, clean water needed to support our fisheries. We plan to continue with this activity annually every spring. Stay tuned for details in the Spring Newsletter.

Shoreline Management

How we manage the shoreline around our lakes has a great deal to do with the health of the lakes. With guidance from scientists and government offices, PLA has taken a number of steps to educate members on shoreline management practices that protect the health of the lake. With newsletter articles, speakers at annual meetings, web-site content and distribution of printed materials, PLA is making sure that members can quickly access easy to understand guidelines on proper shoreline management, and the contact information for the responsible government offices. LINK

Beyond those educational measures, the Pelican Lakes Association has been directly involved in completing a number of shoreline management projects to put that information into action. These projects include rain garden installations at public landings to prevent run-off, septic system detection and repair, well testing, commercial property run-off repair and restoration of natural habitat. In these projects PLA members have contributed volunteer time and money, raised additional funds from grants, and helped coordinate efforts of government agencies and property owners to bring about the desired results.

Preserving Forests

The connection between the health of the forests in the watershed and the quality of the water in the Pelican Lakes is direct and important.

To support this goal, PLA has purchased seedling trees from the Crow Wing County Soil and Water Conservation district and distributed them to it members for planting in the Pelican Lakes watershed. See above. In addition, PLA coordinates with the Pine River Watershed Alliance and others to inform and promote the use of conservation easements under state programs to protect the long-term health of the forests in our area.

PLA has included guidance on forestry management in its newsletters and will continue to find opportunities to inform others and to take actions to preserve and promote the health of the forests we rely upon for the very clean, healthy water in the Pelican Lakes.

Beach Captain

Since 2003, a number of PLA members have volunteered to serve as “Beach Captains” to act as local contacts for residents around the Pelican Lakes. Beach Captains are available to answer questions about PLA activities, receive comment and suggestions from members and others, and help us keep our contact information up-to-date. Over thirty Beach Captains are active now, and more are welcome. If you would like to assist in personalizing the activities of PLA in your neighborhood, please let us know at


An important part of the mission of PLA is to share information with members about the lakes. Our newsletter, with the support of our advertisers, has grown to become a source of information about current events and topics related to the lakes, AIS updates, and PLA news. Published three times each season, they also provide articles on fishing, wildlife, and the history of the lakes. You can access past Newsletters at this LINK.

If you aren’t on the mailing list or the electronic delivery list for newsletters but would like to be, please let us know at:

Please be sure to note our advertisers and support them, as they fund the costs of this enjoyable and informative program.

Member Communications

PLA keeps members informed about its activities through this website, annual meetings, and our three newsletters each season. (Past editions are at this LINK.)