2003 Newsletter


June 2003


Our Annual Meeting will be held on Friday, June 13, 2003. The meeting starts at 8:00 p.m. at the American Legion in Cold Spring.

A Message from our Association President

It’s nice to hear that we have a clean lake. For years, Big Fish Lake has been regarded as one of the county’s cleanest lakes and is often compared with our neighbor to the north, Big Watab. But casual observations belie the facts.

When Dr. Anderson conducted a comprehensive study of the Big Fish Lake in the 1970s, he warned about early signs of a changing lake. The Lake Assessment Study of 1994 conducted by the MPCA emphatically urged us to take action to prevent the lake from degrading any further. MPCA’s Wil Munson told a group of us assembled at Saint John’s that “the lake is standing on a knife edge” and that even small increases in nutrient loading can tip the lake into a eutrophic state.

At the fall meeting of our membership, Professor Matt Julius from St. Cloud State University presented an overview of the lake study he and his students are conducting at Big Fish Lake. The purpose of the study is to identify the sedimentary history of the lake and assess the impact of phosphorus loading which affects lake water quality. The study addresses the trophic state of Big Fish Lake.

Core samples show two distinct periods in history when significant nutrient loading changed the water quality of our lake. The first occurred about 100 years ago, coincident with building County Road 50 that separated Big Fish Lake from Hermit Lake. Until about ten years ago, core samples show a fairly stable sedimentary record despite increases in human population and the construction of cottages and homes around the lake. A decade ago, a sharp increase occurred, similar in severity to that which occurred a century ago.

Recent findings clearly show that Big Fish Lake has inched dangerously close to becoming eutrophic, a state of decline that marks the end of walleye fishing, an increase in carp population, more frequent cyanobacteria (blue-green) algae blooms, and ever worsening secchi disk readings.

Several lake studies have been conducted through the years and Professor Julius builds on the large body of data collected by his St. Cloud State predecessors Anderson, Grether and Knutson. Julius states that we have “irrefutable evidence” that sources of phosphorus loading are dramatically changing water quality and predicted that if nothing is done to reverse the trend, Big Fish Lake is ten years away from one foot Secchi disk readings. If this happens, we’ll compare our lake against Minnetonka instead of Big Watab.

Last summer we experienced multiple algae blooms, on one day causing a loss of water transparency on my end of the lake. Others have noticed an explosion of weed growth in the northern, shallower basin of the lake. These are clear signs of decline that the MPCA and SCSU professors have warned us about.

A number of causes of the nutrient loading have been identified including the flow of nutrients from Long Lake, the use of phosphorus in lawn fertilizers, and cropland runoff especially through areas defined by the government as wetlands. The Lake Association needs to act to correct problems, work with Stearns County and various State agencies, with Long Lake Association, and to work with one another to fix the problems without blame. Professor Julius emphasizes we need to act immediately.

At our annual meeting we will discuss Professor Julius’ findings and ask for your input and assistance.

Peter Fandel President Ice on – Ice Off -8yrs Because I didn’t always publish the ice on and ice off, here it is for the past 9years. Ice On Ice Off


Minnesota Conservation Volunteer magazine is available free by writing to: Minnesota Conservation Volunteer Department of Natural Resources 500 Lafayette Road St. Paul MN 55155-4035 The magazine operates on tax-deductible donations, so please give. The supporter donation is $20 to 49 dollarsBarb Lahr and Matt Peters attended, this past fall, the Healthy Lakes Partnership update meeting up North where groups from other lakes told where they are with their Long Term Management Plans. Big Fish Lake won the $500 door prize! Added to treasury.


Treasurer’s Report

  1. Albinsons copy Newsletter $57.86
  2. Stamps- newsletter $74.00
  3. Copies Kinko’s LMP $89.84

Total Expenses $221.80

  1. Dues $ 520.00
  2. Door Prize $500.00

Total income $1020.00 Bank balance as of 3/31/03 $4575.34

This past fall the three focus groups as mentioned in the Fall 2002 newsletter worked hard to write up a Long Term Management Plan for Big Fish Lake. At The spring meeting there will be a hard copies available.

Web sites as promised

www.Soilwater.co.stearns.mn.us/ lakeshed_Project/lakeshed_project.htm
This site will give you info on data concerning the soils around BFL, land use, bedrock, and many more maps.

This site gives info on all secchi disc readings on our lake and other lakes. Our lake ID # is 73-0106

This site gives info on restoring watersheds

this site is the MN Lakes Association

www.co.stearns.mn.us/departments/envirome nt/index.htm
This is the Environmental Services Dept. site. Go into land use and waters will direct you to other good sites

This site is the largest Secchi Disk data covering USA and now the world.

This newsletter Editors E-mail address MPeters998@aol.com
You can fax to the Editor, Matt Peters, at 320-685-4507
Dues are collected or mailed in fall. $10.00 regular, or $8.00 for senior citizens.
Big Fish Lake Map booklets are $20.00
Subscriptions are $10.00 per year.
Deadline for newsletter articles are 7/15/2002 Send all correspondence to:
Big Fish Lake Association
P.O. Box 458
Cold Spring, MN 56320