Residents have reported above-average plant growth in Prior Lake this year, especially in some of the shallower bays. Concerns were raised over what appeared to be excessive algae growth. The Prior Lake-Spring Lake Watershed District (PLSLWD) and the City of Prior Lake heard these concerns and worked together to address them. PLSLWD and the City hired Blue Water Science of St. Paul to survey the areas of concern and to produce a report that includes potential solutions for lakeshore residents.
Blue Water Science provided good news, stating that all areas surveyed were dominated by plants native to Minnesota, and that there was sparse algae growth. Native aquatic plants are vital to a lake’s health as well as to the fish and wildlife that depend upon them. In one example area, a small bay near Shady Beach Trail and Sand Point Beach Park, “remarkable floating duckweed and watermeal coverage” (natives) was found, and “floating filamentous algae was present, but sparse.” Neither the City nor the District treat native species in the lake if they are by themselves or tangled up with invasive species; however, if homeowners want to take action, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (MnDNR) allows lakeshore residents to remove vegetation within 150 feet of shore, as long as MnDNR rules are followed, which includes application of a herbicide by a licensed applicator.
The information provided by Blue Water Science can now be used by PLSLWD and City staff to assist residents concerned with excessive in-lake vegetation growth. The report can be viewed here. Questions about the survey and findings should be directed to Pete Young at the City at 952-447-9831 and Jaime Rockney at the Watershed District at 952-440-0068.