2021 Photo of the Year

Winner:  Scott Knutson

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Earlier this summer, Blue Water Science was hired by the Prior Lake Spring Lake Watershed District (PLSLWD) to conduct a survey of plant life.   The results of that survey showed Eurasian Milfoil (EWM) was identified in a number of locations on the lake.  After reviewing options, it was decided by the PLSLWD to hand pull EWM from the identified areas.  During the hand pulling, the infestation was greater than first believed and some areas were not hand pulled due to the amount found.  These results were shared with the SLA and after discussions with the PLSLWD, the DNR and Blue Water Science, it was decided by the SLA to take a more aggressive approach and fund an herbicide treatment of the hand pulled and non-hand pulled areas.  This was based on the idea that if EWM is caught earlier enough it will be easier to control going forward and develop additional future mitigation plans. The cost to treat by PLM Lake and Management eCorp, was $4800 for the 8.1 acres.  The treatment was completed by on September 15, 2021.

DNR and SLA representatives conducted a full lake survey on September 30 to determine the effects of the treatment.  The attached survey map shows the areas that were first identified, the treated area and the new observations from September 30.  The treated areas showed little if any EWM present but there were additional areas outside of the treated area where EWM was present.   No further action is planned at this time, however Blue Water Science has agreed to survey the lake next May / June, 2022 at no cost, to assist in determining if additional mitigation and/or control steps should be taken.  


As part of the Prior Lake Spring Lake Watershed District’s (PLSLWD) lake management program, lake surveys are conducted on a periodic basis to determine overall lake quality conditions.  

Recently, Steve McComas with Blue Water Science (BWS) informed the PLSLWD, that he discovered EWM on Spring Lake (see map above) on July 12, 2021, during a plant survey. 

Eurasian Water Milfoil (EWM) is considered to be an Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS because it

Creates dense mats at the water’s surface inhibit water recreationists.
Overtakes habitat and outcompetes native aquatic plants, potentially lowering diversity.
Provides unsuitable shelter, food, and nesting habitat for native animals.

After the finding, the PLSLWD reviewed several options which included, no action, complete lake treatment, hand pulling and hand pulling in combination with spot herbicide treatment.  It was decided to have Blue Water Science to hand pull the affected areas.  Hand pulling was completed on August 4, 2021, with the assistance from the DNR.  Unfortunately, the infestation was greater than first believed and some areas were not pulled due to the amount of EWM found. The findings of the hand pulling were reviewed with Blue Water Science and the DNR by the Spring Lake Association (SLA). They have both stated that a herbicide treatment yet this year would momentarily control the spread.  Comments from the DNR also stated treatment now would allow for a better management plan to be developed and may reduce a more costly treatment down the road.  

 The SLA Board met on Monday, August 16, to review and vote on what actions could be taken by the SLA.  The SLA board voted to proceed with treating the identified affected areas. A DNR permit and owner signature was required for some of the affected areas. Affected areas that received owner approval will be treated. This treatment is scheduled to be done on Wednesday September 15, 2021 by PLM, Lake and Land Management, Corp.  The cost for this treatment is $4800 and will come out of a reserve within the SLA budget.  Blue Water Science will inspect these areas next spring to determine how effective the treatment was in controlling the EWM and determine next steps.  

 We believe the steps that are being taken to control the spread of Eurasian Milfoil will benefit all who enjoy the lake.  Now that Spring Lake has EWM, the SLA board has agreed that we may need the financial assistance of the Spring Lake Association community with this ongoing effort to control EWM.  We plan to add a lake improvement fund to our budget and will look for different ways for our community to make donations and/or get involved.