Thursday, October 28, 2010

WATERWORKS Nov 3 Aitkin Independent Age

Local Wednesday Weekly by Gordon Prickett


Our canoe that had been tied securely to the dock was swamped in last week’s windstorm. None of the weather guessers predicted that Minnesota would record it’s lowest ever reading for atmospheric pressure. At 10 AM, Tuesday, October 26th, the barometric low pressure record was first broken in Aitkin. By 5 o’clock in the afternoon the lowest pressure reading occurred in Bigfork with 28.21 inches of mercury (Standard pressure is 29.92 inches).

I found my windsock on the ground not far away two days later. Last Wednesday we took in the dock and portaged the canoe up to a secure winter site on the lake bank. Our mail carrier told stories of power outages and damage from trees blown down on her route during the windstorm. High winds, a lot of rain, and some wet snow - with all that energy it could have been worse.


With the end of the boating season it’s a good time to take a look at the water’s edge and ask how well your shoreline is handling storm water. Does it run off rapidly in gullies into the lake? Or have you left a shore zone not mowed, not clear cut, and not fertilized?

Each cabin owner needs no more than a ten-foot wide cleared path to get down to the lake shore with kayaks, fishing gear, and water toys. I have attended a number of workshops where the topic has been how to build these “Buffer Zones” and “Rain Gardens” to slow down, capture, and treat storm water - before it can flush pollutants into the lake and river.


At one of these workshops I received a valuable summary page from Steve Hall of Shoreline Creations, a “Lakescaping” company in Nevis, MN. It answers questions and concisely tells why a buffer zone makes sense to improve and maintain good lake water quality. A few of Steve’s pointers:

No-Mow and Buffer Zones stabilize shoreline and reduce erosion. They increase fish and wildlife habitat. They also filter nutrients and pollutants and trap sediments. Plus they control insects naturally and reduce lawn maintenance.

Q. Isn’t a buffer zone just a lot of tall grass that looks messy and unkempt?

A. No! Creating a buffer zone with a combination of native perennial wildflowers, grasses, and a few shrubs will make your shoreline beautiful all year long. Add a reasonable maintenance program and your shoreline will be the envy of your lake!

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