Winsted-Lester Prairie Journal, July 27, 1998

Samples show high phosphorus in Winsted Lake

From the Winsted Lake Watershed Association

At the regular meeting of the Winsted Lake Watershed Association June 13, it was reported that lab work recently performed on water samples taken from the creamery discharge water showed an over-abundance of phosphorus, reporting a level 10 times higher than what it should be.

The creamery is now being tested daily by the water treatment plant, with testing being done at a specific time every day.

MinnAqua went very well. Thirteen kids participated, which was an excellent size group to work with.

There was good response to the lake survey recently distributed. From the information gathered, a 5-year plan will be drafted and discussed at a future meeting. The goal is to see the lake cleaned up within five years.

One plan the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has proposed would be to drain the lake when the dam is replaced next year. Promiscuous fishing would be allowed all winter and, in the spring, rotonone would be applied to both Winsted Lake and Grass Lake to kill off most of the fish. Grass strips would be in place and grass would then start growing. The lake would be refilled and restocked without carp and bullheads.

The Army Corp of Engineers reported that the lake level can't be raised because this would cause shoreline erosion to start.

Actual weed growth has started in the lake this spring. A good weed to encourage would be northern milfoil (not eurasian milfoil). There are some weeds currently growing in the lake that need to be identified. Glencoe will be taking oxygen samples and secchi disk readings all summer.

The channel area needs to be dredged and filled in with sand. Navigation is not needed in the channel and its present state is dangerous to children since the mud at the bottom is like quicksand. Six families around the channel will be invited to the August watershed association meeting to discuss finding a solution to the problem.

Approx 300 dead fish were found around the lake near big city drains after the Memorial Day service at the park. Most of the dead fish were crappies, as well as a few bullheads. The cause is not known at this time; however, a possible cause could be columnar disease. This disease takes hold when fish are in a weakened condition, such as would be true this year after a winter with low oxygen, then an early thaw and early spawn, which stressed the fish and left them weakened

If fish keep dying, the DNR will get involved. To properly analyze the problem, the fish need to be caught as they are dying. At this time, it appears that the problem is lessening.

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