What Are the Threats to Pike Lake Environmental Integrity?

  1. Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) including Eurasian Milfoil, Guagga Mussel, Hydrilla, Spiny Waterflea, etc.

  2. An MPCA report found that Pike Lake had a chloride concentration considerably higher than the ecoregion expectations.

  3. Cultural Eutrophication, the process that accelerates a lake’s natural progression to swamp due to unintended consequences of human behavior.

Current PLAA Threat Mitigation Efforts:

AIS Mitigation:

Pike Lake AIS mitigation efforts are focused on educational landing inspections. Canosia Township is managing the program in coordination with Minnesota’s Department of Natural Resources (DNR), St Louis County and the Pike Lake Association (PLA).

Understanding chloride concentration trends:

The Pike Lake Association is now measuring and tracking chloride levels on an annual basis.  In addition, we are coordinating with UMD researchers to measure water flows for potential impact on concentrations.  It should be noted that in 2016, we toured the St Louis County Public Works facility and found procedures for the storage, handling and application of road deicers to precede and exceed MPCA standards.

Certainly a percentage of the problem is us, the watershed residents.  Our home page links to site which offers the science of “homeowner” type salt application for sidewalks and driveways.  It also contains an educational video to teach people how to apply deicers. 

Cultural Eutrophication Mitigation:

Education: Pike Lake Association newsletter articles explaining best practices for residents as well as updates on lake health .

Monitoring: Citizen Lake Monitoring Program – Continuing on 20+ years of visibility monitoring.   MPCA program manned by PLA volunteers.  Two-year Indepth Advanced Citizen Lake Monitoring program conducted on ten year cycles. : The Advanced Citizen Lake Monitoring Program (CLMP+) tracks temperature and dissolved oxygen profiles, alkalinity, chloride, chlorophyll, color, nitrogen, phosphorus, and solids.

Summer 2018 AIS Inspection

The 2018 AIS Inspections ended recently and we are pleased to report that no additional invasive species were discovered. Our group of Inspectors did an excellent job with very few negatives to report.

This season, the Inspectors saw a more positive public response to the job they were doing. The public has been responsive to the efforts that were taken in educating people about the dangers of not insuring that their boats, trailers, jet skis, etc., were free of any debris, standing water, and the transport of bait from one body of water to another. We made a concentrated effort to make people aware of the importance of the AIS Program and how the benefits are worth the time it takes for the Inspectors to do their work.

We want to thank everyone for the success we achieved this season. We would also like to say a special thanks to our inspectors for a job well done!

Kevin L. Comnick / Canosia AIS Supervisor


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Past articles of interest:

Spyrogyra Algae - Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Several residents have reported the presence of unfamiliar algae this spring.   The Pike Lake Area Association contacted several private and public organizations before finding an expert willing and able to identify the algae.   Elaine Ruzycki of the Center for Water & the Environment from the Natural Resources Research Institute examined our specimen. She identified the algae as Spirogyra, a genus of filamentous green algae.

Spirogyra can be found in most any lake or pond.   This type of algae is not dangerous to humans.  However high concentrations are a nuisance and can clog filter intakes.


Zebra Mussel Update - Tuesday, October 18, 2011

 Zebra mussels have invaded our lake-in spite of our best efforts to keep them out. Unfortunately, all it takes is one microscopic male “Veliger” (baby Zebra Mussel), and one microscopic female Veliger transported in a nook in someone’s boat, from the St Louis River, where they have lived for years, and the invasion is on. Your association is working hard to deal with this pest, and-believe it or not, we have some encouraging news.

The Minnesota Waters association, to which we belong, is working with the MN DNR. They have found a selective killer for Zebra Mussels which works well in power company water intake pipes, and may work in an environment like Pike Lake. The killer is a beneficial bacteria called Pseudomonas Flourescens. It was discovered by Dr Daniel Molloy, a New York State researcher, and produced under contract from New York by a company called Marrone Bio Innovations. The bacteria kill Zebra Mussels by destroying their digestive systems, and they do so whether they are alive or dead. They have been tested against several other species, including Brown Trout, Mallards, native freshwater clams, etc and did them no harm.

Dr Molloy has briefed Minnesota Lake associations in Alexandria and Pequot Lakes. He is looking for a site, and funding, for a comprehensive lake test-which may cost as much as $350,000. He hopes to start said test by May, 2012. Your association is contacting local legislators to see if the State of Mn might be willing to help fund this test, and we have expressed a willingness to work with the Molloy and Marrone, under DNR supervision, to determine if the product, marketed as Zequanox, will solve our problem. In the meantime, you might find the following to be helpful:

·         Zebra Mussel young (veligers) float in the water table for 2 to 5 weeks after birth and then drop to the bottom to attach themselves to a hard surface ( a rock, a clam, a snail, a stick, the wheels on your dock, your outboard, etc). If they cannot find a hard surface, they die. That is why lake dwellers with sandy lake bottoms do not see many mussels.

·         Consider policing your lake bottom to get rid of rocks, sticks, clams, etc-and make sure your outboard is out of the water. You will help minimize their impact, and you won’t cut your feet on the little buggers.

We will provide more info as this situation unfolds.