Watershed seeks to create dialogue with residents about Diamond Lake water quality

BY MINDY MATEUSZCZYK

mindy.m@ecm-inc.com

Dayton Police Chief Dick Pietrzak got tired of seeing all the weeds in Diamond Lake as he drove by day after day. Instead of complaining or turning a blind eye, he’s trying to do something about it. But he needs residents to step up and get involved.

After getting approval from the Dayton City Council to pursue a cleanup project on the lake, Pietrzak began discussing the issue with area environmental agencies. The result is what Pietrzak and Dayton resident Doug Baines hope is the beginning of a dialogue and a plan.

Baines, also happens to be the Elm Creek Watershed Chairman. The organization, along with the Pollution Control Agency (PCA) and Department of Natural Resources (DNR) will host a meeting June 26 to specifically discuss the water quality of Diamond Lake.

"Over the last couple years, it’s become pretty weed infested. I think it’s curly pond weed but there was also a major fish kill with a cold winter a couple years back," said Baines. "The lake is only about 8 feet deep so there was a depleted oxygen level because of the freeze out."

Lower fish count adds to the potential weed growth because there is no wildlife to feed on them.

Baines wants to do more than just talk about the lake’s problems.

"I am a strong advocate of setting goals, not just having a frivolous meeting. I’m going to ask for that," said Baines, who realizes the city doesn’t have much financial depth to make any immediate changes. But he suggests now is the time to start planning and be prepared to apply for grant money so the city can get the most "bang for their buck" when the opportunities arise. Baines believes the city may also have to eventually initiate a utility fee to help finance some clean up work on the lakes.

The timing to begin discussions on Diamond Lake comes at the midpoint of a 4-year long TMDL study being conducted by the Elm Creek Watershed.

The TMDL study is looking at numerous water bodies in the watershed – which extends from Plymouth to Champlin. The results of the Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) study will show the total maximum daily load on Dayton lakes including Diamond Lake as well as French Lake and Lake Laura. The goal of the TMDL study is to analyze what kind of clean up is necessary in order to allow the water bodies to serve as a recreational body including swimming and fishing capabilities. Baines said in years past, Diamond Lake served these purposes, mostly as a fishing lake and as a lake where people used canoes and other small boats.

According to Baines, after the results are presented communities, including Dayton, will be required to make a plan to begin cleaning up. This will come after the TMDL analysis is complete in 2014. The study began in 2010.

The meeting on June 26 will be an opportunity for residents to receive updated information from the watershed and other environmental agencies. While Baines specifically encourages residents near the lake to attend, he also said the information provide and the opportunity to provide feedback and ask questions is valuable to everyone in Dayton as well as individuals living along other watershed bodies of water such as the Crow River, the Mississippi River and French Lake.

(Editor’s Note: Of the 7 communities within the Elm Creek Watershed Dayton comprises 19 percent of the watershed in square miles, behind Corcoran (28 percent), Maple Grove (20 percent) and Rogers/Hassan (20 percent). The additional communities within the Elm Creek Watershed include Champlin, Medina and Plymouth.)

If you go…

WHAT: Water quality informational meeting

WHEN: Tuesday, June 26, 6:30 to 8 p.m.

WHERE: Dayton Senior Center

18461 Dayton Street, Dayton

*Light refreshments provided.

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