Properly managing your shoreline helps keep Birch Lake clean, keeps phosphorus and other chemicals down, and provides good habitat for wildlife. Here are some resources that can help you make good shoreland choices:
Board member Mary Knaus, has brought to our attention that many Birch Lake members are concerned about the snails in Birch Lake. President Mark Glende researched these snails, here is what we know so far:
Chinese mystery snail (CMS) is native to Asia. It was brought to California in 1892 as a food source, and found in Massachusetts in 1915 — likely an aquarium release. The historic range of the banded mystery snail (BMS) is the southeastern U.S., primarily in the Mississippi River system up to Illinois. It is a popular aquarium snail that’s been released in Minnesota. They are mainly found in lakes and in slow moving rivers. They are called “mystery” snails because in spring, they give birth to young, fully developed snails that suddenly and mysteriously appear. After reproducing in their fourth year, they die and their shells wash up on shore. That is probably what people in Birch are seeing. I don't know if there is anything that can be done to eliminate the snails
From runoff to ruin: The undoing of Minnesota's lakes
Land use did the damage; much of it can’t be undone. In some parts of the state, however, there’s still hope.
The world's first Solar Powered Silhouette Illuminating Buoys are now on Birch Lake. The powerful solar panel collects the suns energy during the day. At night the integrated circuit automatically turns on the super bright LED which illuminates the entire body of the buoy. The labels create shadows of the message, logos, and bands, that allow boaters to visibly read the buoys message at night.
Water Quality Testing
Jim Madland and Rick Zaske have been the designated water testers for the Birch Lake Association this past summer. They use a secchi disk to measure water clarity, then follow a strict protocol to sample lake water in the deepest part of the lake. This is done 3 times throughout the summer. Samples are sent to a laboratory for testing. This is how we can track the levels of phosphorus and other elements in the water. Thanks, Jim & Rick for your work!
Water Condition for Birch Lake
The DNR stocks walleye fingerlings in Birch Lake on even-numbered years. They are on a 2-year cycle to stock our lake (last stocking was fall 2012).
With help from Jim Madland , on September 24, 2014, the DNR released 412 lbs of walleye fingerlings at the City Boat Launch in Hackensack. On September 28, 2014 they released 118 lbs of fingerlings at Hyde-A-Way Bay resort in Big Birch. On October 1, 2014, they released the remaining 920 lbs of fingerlings at Hyde-A-Way Bay for a total of 1510 lbs of walleye fingerlings.
When the fingerlings are poured into the lake, someone has to "stir them up" to get them to swim away from the point of entry. That's what Jim is doing in this picture. Thanks, Jim! And thanks to Bev Madland for the photo and video!
Gene Tuftin reports that we continue to have 5 nesting pairs of loons on Birch Lake and "some bachelors." It appears there are three nesting pairs on the Big Island. The number of nesting loons and the number of surviving chicks in the fall is one indicator of the health of a lake. Get in touch with Gene to join this fun project.