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Spicer Council agrees to partnership in an effort to decrease Eurasian milfoil in waters of Green Lake

SPICER -- The city of Spicer will partner with the local watershed district and property owners' association to develop protective environmental measures for Green Lake.

During Wednesday's regular meeting, the City Council agreed to a partnership for preservation of Green Lake's water quality. The city's partners in the task are the Middle Fork Crow River Watershed District and the Green Lake Property Owners Association.

The partnership's goal is to minimize the growth of Eurasian milfoil in the lake with treatment plans and actual plant removal.

According to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Web site, Eurasian milfoil is a foreign aquatic plant introduced inadvertently to Minnesota in 1987. The plant builds on the water's surface, limits recreational use of a lake and crowds out essential native plants of lakes and alters ecosystems.

Growth of the exotic plant in Green Lake was discovered in 2000, according to previous reports. Two water inlets of the lake, located near Miller Street and Manitoba Street, are suspected to be storm-water runoff sites where sediments reach Green Lake and aid in the spread of Eurasian milfoil.

"The big issue is: where is this water coming from and how can it be treated?" said Ann Latham, a member of the Green Lake Property Owners Association. "Obviously, storm water is feeding this stuff."

Many prevention suggestions, ranging from more sweeping of city streets and construction of a boat wash near a public lake access, were introduced during discussions.

Chad Anderson, administrator for the Middle Fork Crow River Watershed District, told the council the watershed district was acquiring grants to perform more storm-water research on the lake. The research could determine if and where sediments are entering the lake.

Terry Frazee, executive secretary of the Green Lake Property Owners Association, said a sediments test was completed near the shore of the Park Lane Resort on Green Lake and a rate of 835 parts per billion of phosphorus was found in the water. The preferred or safe level, he said, was 18 parts per billion of phosphorus.

"We've had too many years of being reactive," Frazee said. "Now, we need to be proactive."

Councilman Troy Block inquired whether a joint project could start solving the storm-water problem. After a quick consensus, Councilman Ron Schneider proposed a partnership resolution. The council, with Councilman Robert Lindahl absent, passed the resolution unanimously.

The council will decide in a future meeting how reports of progress regarding the partnership will be given to the council.

In other business Wednesday, the council approved a 2009 preliminary budget of $2,741,948.64, a 6 percent increase from the 2008 budget. The council has until Dec. 15 to make any budget revisions.