Saturday, May 31, 2014


WATERWORKS by Gordon Prickett  A column for the 6/4/2014 Aitkin Independent Age


Every year at this time - for 18 years - there is a place to learn more about our lakes and rivers in Aitkin County. Because of the ventilation repairs this summer at Rippleside Elementary School, the Rivers and Lakes Fair will be at the Aitkin High School, Saturday, June 14th, from 9 am to 2 pm.

The DNR will have a live fish exhibit with some beauties they have netted nearby. The Audubon Center will bring amphibians and reptiles to meet and interact with fair goers. Lunch and snacks will be available at low cost. Minnow races and the building of bluebird and bat houses will be featured again for kids. Learn about bogs, enhancing shoreline habitat, and preventing the spread of invasive species. There will be a gym full of exhibits to show the many features of our lake country.


Stormwater is rain water that does not soak into the ground during a precipitation event, and typically runs off from hard surfaces like roofs, driveways, sidewalks, and lawns into nearby receiving water bodies.

It carries sediment, pollutants, and nutrients. If not effectively managed, runoff erodes shorelines. One simple way to protect the lake from stormwater effects is to leave a “no-mow” zone of at least 15 feet along the shore, mowing just a path for beach access. This buffer zone of native growth acts to filter and absorb rainfall. Prevention of stormwater runoff can be accomplished by limiting the area of impervious surfaces, installing a rain barrel, and creating a rain garden, berm, or swale.

At the Rivers and Lakes Fair we will show some examples of stormwater treatment in the ACLARA booth.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014


Title: LOONS ARRIVE -  A WATERWORKS column by Gordon Prickett

for the 5/7/2014 Aitkin Independent Age


The ice went out on Nord Lake Monday, April 28th, and this was another year for the record books. We have records going back to 1976, and this year was definitely late for ice-out. In all that time this was the third latest date. Previously the ice has gone out on April 29, 1979, and on May 10, 2013. Summarizing all this data, we have an average ice-out date of April 15th. The earliest date in our records was March 22, 2012.

While a strong east wind was pushing high waves against the retreating ice shelf on Sunday afternoon, our first returning loon splashed down into the wind. By Wednesday our pair of loons on the east end of the lake was back together, and their calls announced the return of open water and the boating season once again.

I just received the DNR report of the loon counting for Aitkin County. Counters on 22 lakes observed 91 loons and 17 chicks in the summer of 2013.


A new flyer from the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency has evidence of the killing of loons and eagles. The title is “Get the Lead Out!” Research around the nation has found that lead poisoning from lead fishing tackle is responsible for from 12 to 50% of adult loon deaths. The Raptor Center at the University of Minnesota has monitored injured bald eagles for lead since 1980. Lead poisoning has been the cause of admission of 315 out of a total of 1,398 eagles (23%). Eagles are exposed when they eat fish that have ingested lead tackle.

Maine, New Hampshire, New York, and Vermont have banned the use or sale of lead sinkers. The European Union has banned lead in all consumer products, including fishing tackle. The MPCA flyer has pictures of the many non-lead weights and jigs now available, and made in Minnesota. It is past time for this action in Minnesota.