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Deer Lake Association
A member of the Minnesota Lakes Association
Deer Lake Fly-Over
On June 24th, 2006, Al Cibizar from A. W. Research Labratories presented the results of the "Fly-Over" conducted last Fall.  It was a fascinating program and of great interest to the health of the lake.  The focus of the study was to identify potential sources of pollution around the lake, most notably coming from septic systems, but also from other sources.  General details of the health of Deer Lake will be posted here soon.  In addition, each property owner will receive a confidential report on their own situation, with recommendations for correction if necessary.  One bit of advise can apply to everyone: the single most effective and easiest thing we can all do is to retain a shoreland buffer between our yards and the lake.  This is as simple as a no-mow zone at least for the first 10 feet back (with a path access to dock and beach).  This will prevent the rain runoff from going directly into the lake, filtering debris and nutrients, and keeping the lake clean.
Here is a picture of the well attended June 24 meeting:


                                          To: All Deer Lake Residents-


The purpose of this report is to update you on the progress of the photographic survey of the lakeshore analysis begun last fall by the Deer Lake Association in behalf of all lake residents.


Many have said that what they appreciate most about Deer Lake is the clarity and quality of its water. Although it remains one of the clearest lakes in Minnesota, its quality is declining and threatened, which generates considerable concern. Our lake is oligotropic which means that it is slow emptying and has a long turnover time- any decline has serious and long term implications.


Of course each of us are primary stewards of the lake will want to be aware of this and do all we can to preserve and improve its water quality. There are also some things we can do best together.  With this in mind the DLA has adopted the ambitious goal of improving the lake's clarity by 3 feet in the next 20 years (per the Secchi disc reading). It is difficult but doable according to the three limnologists (specialists in lake quality) lake resident who advice the board.  This 3 in 20 program will require cooperation and participation of all of us.


High phosphorus, septic seepage and sediment levels are the three major factors contributing to the decline in lake water quality. Accordingly, the DLA Board commissioned the lakeshore analysis to determine the levels and areas affected and to create a historical data base for comparison in monitoring future lake conditions. It will provide information about how each of us effects the environment as well as what we can volunteer to do as property owners to help preserve the quality of our lake.


It’s Hi-Tech! Two photographic flyovers were done this fall using visual and infrared ektachrome 35 mm films and hyper spectral video consisting of chlorophyll A, water penetrating near IR and thermal imaging techniques. During the winter this will be analyzed for the extent of eutrophication (process by which a lake receives excess nutrients that stimulate excessive plant growth-algae bloom, etc.) with respect to aquatic vegetation and several categories of possible nutrient or toxic sources such as septic leakage, fertilizer runoff, and certain land use practices.


The results of the survey will be presented early this summer in the following manner;


1.      An oral and video presentation giving the overall status of the lake, open to all lake residents.

2.      Data on each property will be given separately and confidentially to each owner free of charge with suggestions for necessary improvements, where needed. Any action resulting from the survey will be individual and voluntary.


We believe this survey will enhance our understanding of the importance of preserving our lake's quality and guide our efforts toward perpetuating our enjoyment of it in the future.


The cost of this analysis, while substantial, is a fraction of what individual property inspections would cost. Financial support was provided from the DLA Endowment and Preservation Fund which supports projects that benefit the lake's water quality. It is separate from the DLA general fund which is supported by annual dues.


 If you wish to contribute to the tax-deductible DLA Endowment Fund or become a DLA Member, contact George Ritzinger, DLA Treasurer, 9042 Sutton Dr. Eden Prairie, MN 55347. More information about the survey will be in the Spring DLA NEWSLETTER and will also be posted on the DLA WEBSITE





Here is the latest report from Bob Baker on distributing the results:


            Our Lakeshore Analysis reports have been sent, thanks to a heroic effort by Joan and Gerry Ratzlaff, Trish Bogenrief, Lisa Dorn, Janna Nemeth, Wayne Bengston, Gunny, Russ Jeckel, Lew Johnston, Mike and Holly Newton, Will Isaakson and Butch Brumbach, who spent five hours helping connect names and addresses to the reports and helping to get the mailing ready.
            Special thanks to Trish Bogenrief and Lisa Dorn who spent many more hours working on it.
            There were several mailing glitches which I’m working on now. I’ve had very little response from people, but thanks from several for the effort.
            I hope to keep this in front of people continuously with future newsletter reports primarily on what people can do, particularly with regard to creating buffers and berms to reduce runoff into the lake. Please note that approximately 75% of us were advised to have ground inspections done. That seems quite ambitious, at least in the near term, but I have a list of licensed inspectors available for distribution to anyone interested. 
            Any further suggestions?                                           
Letter from the DLA Board, September 2005:

Dear Neighbor,

Our Deer Lake is noted for being one of the clearest in our "Land of Sky-Blue Waters". But it is now threatened by declining clarity and water quality. This should be a wake-up call for us all.
Limnologists tell us the causes of this are several, but most important of them are phosphorus, seepage from malfunctioning septic systems, runoff from lawns and driveways, and removal of natural plants which decrease runoff and sediment entering the water.
Itasca County officials have recommended inspection of every septic system (at a cost of $200+ per residence.) The Deer Lake Association has a better plan. We have ordered an aerial infrared photographic survey which will assess each septic system and evaluate other sources of the problem. The survey will be done this fall, with results available next spring.
While costly, this will cost a fraction of the county's recommendation. Payment will be made by the Deer Lake Endowment and Preservation Fund as a part of our "3 in 20" program, which endeavors to increase the lake's clarity by 3 feet in the next 20 years.
We are providing the information gained to all Deer Lake residents free of charge. The results of the survey will be completely personal and confidential. Neither the County, nor the DLA, nor any association member, nor your neighbors, will have access to your report. What you do with it will be up to you.
We believe this survey will increase our understanding of our effects on the environment. We hope it will help us, as Deer Lake's primary stewards, to determine what each of us can do to help preserve the quality of our lake.
If you wish clarification or more information about septic systems, revegetation, runoff, or availability of low-cost loans, we can assist you, but only if you initiate a request.
Watch the DLA Newsletter and Website about the survey in the meantime, as well as for information on soaps, fertilizers, purple loosestrife, and other problems we are attempting to address as good stewards of our lake and lands.

Board of Directors, Deer Lake Association

Maintaining and improving Deer Lake's beautiful lake water quality is the goal of the 3 in 20 Program.  To this end a Brainerd company, A.W. Research Laboratories, has been hired by the Deer Lake Endowment & Preservation Committee (DELEAP) to fly over Deer Lake and survey the water quality. The company's highly sophisticated, state-of-the-art aircraft-mounted thermal and wavelength imaging equipment will establish which areas of the lake, if any, show signs of runoff, have abnormally high phosphorus concentrations and septic system leakage.

One flyover took place August 26, 2005. Another will occur late this fall. The company will then subject this data to complex analysis. Each property owner will receive a notice and confidential report on their shoreline. No one else will receive this information.