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Serpent Lake Association volunteers give 700 hours to protect water quality

Serpent Lake Association members of Crosby and Deerwood volunteered 706 hours in 2011-2012 to protect Serpent Lake.

The efforts were part of a project called the Serpent Lake Protection Investigation Study, funded in part by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency’s (MPCA) Clean Water Partnership (CWP) Program. The Crow Wing SWCD Staff, Conservation Corps of Minnesota Apprentices, and volunteers measured lake levels, took lake clarity readings with a Secchi Disk, collected lake and stream nutrient samples and determined amount of plant productivity, took rain events samples in urban areas that contributed polluted runoff into the lake, and attended educational presentations.

Twenty-three volunteers worked on the project donating 39 days of personal boat usage and 2,786 vehicle miles to accomplish the sampling work.

“Serpent Lake Association is very concerned about the future of Serpent Lake. We want to do everything within our means to take action to protect water quality” said Clark Marshall, who volunteered as project manager with the group. Analysis of historical data by Crow Wing County (CWC) several years ago revealed what the group suspected: that the water quality in the lake has declined since monitoring began in 1971.

“Serpent Lake has one of the highest ratios of urban land use to lakeshed area of the 416 lakes in Crow Wing County according to the University of Minnesota Land Department” said Melissa Barrick, SWCD district manager. “This is due to the city of Crosby and city of Deerwood directly adjacent to Serpent Lake.”

The CWP Program provides financial and technical assistance to local government to address nonpoint-source water pollution, such as storm sewers, construction sites, paved surfaces, failing septic systems, and over-fertilized lawns. These sources contribute phosphorus, sediments, and other pollutants to the environment.

“The MPCA estimates that eighty-six percent of the state’s water pollution is nonpoint source. The CWP helps local governments develop an analysis of the sources of pollution and determine the most effective way to improve a waterbody” said Bonnie Finnerty, MPCA project manager.

“The next step in the project is to determine the amount of nutrients in the lake system. The SWCD will then write an implementation plan to improve water quality by working with local landowners. Once the plan is approved a local government unit can apply for funding to do the work” said Robert Bauer, SWCD district technician assistant.

The results of the volunteer’s data-collection efforts are available to the public on the MPCA website at

For more information e-mail, or contact Robert Bauer at 218-828-6197.

Denton (Denny) Newman Jr.
I've worked at the Brainerd Dispatch with various duties since Dec. 7, 1983. Starting off as an Ad Designer and currently Director of Audience Development. The Dispatch has been an interesting and challenging place to work. I'm fortunate to have made many friends, both co-workers and customers.
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