President's Comments

Annual Update from Glenn Speich, President Little Arbor Vitae Lake District

Another year has nearly passed since we completed the lake management plan for the Little Arbor Vitae lake. During that time, an expanded planning committee was formed to explore the possibilities of doing a follow up study to better understand the phosphorus/algae issue. The committee had two  joint meetings with the planning committee from Big Arbor Vitae Lake.

Both groups felt it was worth exploring a new grant application to study the phosphorus/algae relationship, and what the findings of study might tell us.

The planning committee believe  both lakes need to agree on pursuing the study because the  phosphorus level in both lakes is similar.  

Onterra, the consultants hired to do the initial study, provided the frame work for a followup study. The proposed study would take 3 years to complete and would include weekly water samples from three locations on each lake, the 2 inlets on each lake and additional samples after major wind events. (It is possible that due to the large amount of shallow water that the high wind events cause the lake bottom to be agitated releasing phosphorus held in the bottom sediments for which there is no cure).   The study would require $17,706 from each lake group or 1,235 volunteer hours from each group and 30 half-days of boat use and $2,471 cash payment over the three years.  Total local contribution is $35,412 or a total of 2,470 hours of volunteer time doing water testing plus $4,942 in cash.  The grant would be $106,236 with a 25% contribution in cash or volunteer hours at $12.00 per hour credit for a total cost of $141,648.

This followup study would research the following:

  • The phosphorus loading coming into each lake from water shed and ground water sources
  • What the loading moving from the bottom sediments into the water is
  • What the possibilities of reducing any of the loadings are and the effect on the algae blooms each year might look like  

Changing the in-coming loadings may not be possible as it could be just the nature of the water shed. One possible change to the bottom sediments would be by an alum treatment to cause a chemical change to the phosphorus in the sediments. After considerable discussion the planning committee came to the following conclusions:

  • We would need a larger volunteer base to offset the cost of another grant rather than triple our assessment to the owners
  • The possibility of an outcome that would provide positive improvements to the lake are questionable
  • The committee questioned whether this is where the lake district should be putting its efforts

At this time the board has put the proposed grant to study the algae issue on hold for the currant year.  Big Arbor Vitae has taken the same position.

Other issues that are of concern to the board are preventing introduction of invasive species.  The board is committed to clean boats /clean water by seeking additional volunteer hours.

To be better prepared we will need a larger commitment from the owners to do shore line patrol on a regular basis looking for invasive species.

It is thought that if owners take a smaller section of shoreline and patrol it in depth we may a better opportunity of being proactive.

We will be recommending creating our own web site as part of the overall communication plan called for in our management plan. It is felt the more we can communicate with the owners the more engaged all will become.
 We are still doing ongoing water testing each month and we could use several additional volunteers to help Bill Christianson who is conducting the test.
 We are inclosing a follow up survey with the hopes of getting a better direction for where the board should put its effort. The survey done for the management plan showed that water quality was the most important issue, now we need to refine the definition of water quality. You input is what will set the direction both short term and long term.
Thank you for your contributions as a Little Arbor Vitae Lake District owner.
Please contact me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call me at 715-675-2353.