Lake Riley Neighbors,
2020 has been a challenging year for all of us, so I thought I would bring a little good news to the forefront.
For some of you who have been living on or enjoying Lake Riley for years, you will recognize that the water this year has been exceptionally clear. Some of you who are new to the lake may not realize what a big change this is. In our first years here, in the mid 80’s, it was not unusual to have nearly opaque lake water this time of year. On calm days, algae would float to the surface and drift to one side of the lake and the unfortunate residents on that side would be treated to a pretty strong smell. As recently as August 2012 you couldn’t see your toes when standing in 2 feet of water.
We have seen some great improvement over the last few years, but this summer is really tremendous. Attached is a graph of the clarity measurements since 1992. The red line is this year. What a difference!
There are several factors that probably lead to this. The University of Minnesota, along with our Lake Association and the Riley, Purgatory, Bluff Creek Watershed District, did an extensive study of managing carp, and ended up removing most of them. Rice Marsh Lake now is managed to prevent reintroduction of young carp. This year, a second application of Alum bound up more of the phosphorus in the water, and it certainly seems to have worked. Maybe the presence of the early population of Zebra Mussels is helping to clarify the water too.
Additionally, the lake weed population seems to have diversified, with less solid matts of Eurasian Milfoil. Aquatic plants were also studied by the University and some targeted management has been carried out by the watershed district. I recall years of only coontail, milfoil and curlyleaf pondweed. Now I see patches of several native lake plants, a good thing!
Let's hope that the trend continues and all do our best to protect our new clear water.
To all those that contributed over the years, thank you!
Now that we are into the summer boating season and with the 4th of July holiday fast approaching, I wanted to send out a reminder about a few key rules related to operating watercraft on the lake.
I’ve gotten some questions / comments from people concerned about people’s safety, and we want to make sure that everyone is able to enjoy their time out on the lake. Pease remember these rules are intended to help everyone enjoy beautiful Lake Riley – and do so safely.
Please keep in mind the following (and remember these are just a handful of the full boating regulations):
The 2019 Minnesota DNR Boating Guide is available at the link below for further reference.
There are of course pages of rules between Minnesota, the City of Chanhassen, and the City of Eden Prairie. Probably the most important one of all is to please be courteous, respectful, and friendly to your fellow users of the lake. Lake Riley is a public resource for all to enjoy, and we all need to do our part to make sure we treat others the way we would like to be treated out on the lake.
If you are looking for a list of plants and flowers that work best for native plantings along the shoreline, in buffer zones, and in rain gardens around Lake Riley to help keep the lake clean and healthy, click on the link below. The Riley Purgatory Bluff Creek Watershed District periodically provides training and volunteer opportunities for interested citizens. You can also checkout their website at: www.rpbcwd.org.
Great news. The Riley Purgatory Bluff Creek Watershed District will be initiating the first dose of the Rice Marsh Lake alum treatment in the next couple weeks. As a reminder, Rice Marsh Lake is the first body of water upstream of Lake Riley on Riley Creek. The alum treatment will reduce the amount of phosphorus in the water flowing into Lake Riley, which will help reduce the frequency and intensity of algae blooms and ultimately contribute to improved water quality in Lake Riley.
As a reminder, Lake Riley had an alum treatment of its own in 2015 (and a second dose is planned in 2020), which has had a very positive impact on water quality in the lake over the last few years.
More info on the Rice Marsh Lake treatment is available at: https://ricemarshlakealum.wordpress.com/ (thanks Bob Adomaitis for the link). A Project Demonstration Day is being held on September 26 at 1:00pm on Erin Bay Rd for anyone interested in seeing firsthand what this is all about.
I wanted to bring the LRIA membership up to speed on the activities of the LRIA board regarding the Watershed 10 Year Plan.
As you saw from Bryan's email, we requested feedback from the general LRIA membership about the plan. We also met with the District Administrator (Claire Bleser) and went through the plan in detail to better understand the potential impact to Lake Riley. Finally, we met and discussed as an LRIA board to coordinate on what specific feedback we wanted to provide the watershed during the public comment period.
At a high level, we were generally pleased to see a number of projects that directly benefit Lake Riley, such as:
1. Alum treatment for Lake Riley (2nd dose) planned for 2020
2. Alum (or similar) treatment for Rice Marsh Lake (which flows into Riley) planned for 2018-2027.
3. Alum (or similar) treatment for Lake Susan (which flows into Rice Marsh) planned for 2022-2026.
4. Stabilization of Upper Riley Creek (between Ann and Susan) and Middle Riley Creek (between Rice Marsh and Lake Riley) which should reduce contamination flowing into Lake Riley.
5. Handful of watershed load control projects for Rice Marsh and Susan, which should reduce contamination flowing into Lake Riley.
Our biggest concern was that there were no watershed load control projects for Lake Riley directly (meaning projects intended to reduce runoff coming directly into the lake from adjacent land). The candidate project on Lake Riley that ranked highest (but not selected) was in the area that flows through the boat launch. The new boat launch configuration should have provided some benefit, and we are looking into this to better understand. There is also opportunity/budget set aside for what the watershed calls "Opportunity Projects" and "Cost Share Projects". This is an opportunity to get additional projects on the radar going forward.
We plan to have more information about the 10 Year Plan, as well as what we can do to help identify Opportunity and Cost Share projects to benefit Lake Riley, as part of the annual meeting on April 23. Mark your calendars and more info to come soon.
Based on the assessment above, the LRIA board submitted the feedback pasted at the end of this email to the watershed regarding the 10 Year Plan.
As always, please reach out with any questions or concerns to myself or the other LRIA board members. Thanks to the LRIA board members for spending the time to review, understand and comment on the plan. And special thanks to our LRIA members who have served on the Watershed Board of Managers and have been instrumental in the development of the plan: Perry Forster (now retired from the Board) and Dick Chadwick.
And remember our website: www.lakeriley.org.
Think warm thoughts. Summer is coming!
"On behalf of the Lake Riley Improvement Association (LRIA) Board, I would like to thank the RPBCWD Watershed Staff and Managers for putting this 10 Year Plan together. Our LRIA Board has reviewed the Plan and had the opportunity to speak with the District Administrator at length regarding its contents. It is our view that the process used to develop the plan was thorough, public visibility of the process was high, and the projects identified for implementation are appropriate. We specifically reviewed with great interest the projects planned for the Riley Creek Watershed, and are generally pleased to see a number of beneficial projects planned for the next 10 years. This includes: completion of alum treatment on Lake Riley, alum treatments for Rice Marsh Lake and Lake Susan, stabilization and restoration of Upper and Middle Riley Creeks, and a few watershed load control projects for the Lake Susan and Rice Marsh Lake watersheds. Our one concern is the absence of specific watershed load control projects planned for the Lake Riley watershed during the plan period. We look forward to understanding more about how the boat ramp project completed on Lake Riley in 2017 may have achieved some level of reduction in loading for LR_88 and LR_90. We also look forward to working with the RPBCWD Staff to help identify Opportunity and Cost Share projects to benefit the Lake Riley watershed as we move forward.
On behalf of the LRIA Board,
Happy New Year! I hope everyone had a great end to 2017, and that 2018 is off to a fantastic start. Wanted to provide some key information from recent Watershed Board meetings. One item to pay particular attention to is item number 1, the Watershed 10-Year plan, which is currently out for public comment. See below for details and links.
The next monthly Watershed Board Meeting will be February 07, 2018 from 7:00pm-9:00pm at the district office located at 18681 Lake Drive East Chanhassen, MN 55317
. Meetings are open to the public and all are welcome to attend if interested. Please reach out with any questions.