Jun 30, 2008

Savage Lake meeting 6/17/2008

From: Oyen, Cameron
Sent: Wednesday, June 18, 2008 3:32 PM
To: Cliff Aichinger
Cc: Joel Hanson; barbara.allan@ci.little-canada.mn.us; michael.mcgraw@ci.little-canada.mn.us; lelfering@elferingeng.com; bill.dircks@ci.little-canada.mn.us
Subject: Savage Lake meeting 6/17/2008

Cliff, et al:
Several things arising out of the 6/17 Savage Lake Public Meeting (it rambles a bit, so please read to the end):
1) Thank you! for taking the time to meet with us all; some cranky, some just emphatic, all interested in what is best for a wonderful water resource. Thank you for maintaining your cool in the face of some heavy fire at times.
2) We are truly grateful for the wise and insightful contribution of our neighbor Tom Wenzel to the discussion; he stepped outside the box for a moment and viewed the matter from a different angle. We saw his suggestion to approach the new bureaucrat at the DNR (I can say that, being a bureaucrat myself) about taking another look at the water level assumptions, among other things, as a positive turning point in the discussion. We have at least some hope of positive change, as long as we base the baselines on some real history, as provided by folks who have some, rather than some "one-size-fits-all" bureaucratic standards and interpretations that DO NOT always fit "all."
3) The Oyen perspective began a couple of years prior to our June 15, 2002 move-in date. We had every reason to expect, based on visits to our property and that of our neighbors, whom we knew going back several years, that the water would remain open and that the level would not drop so significantly. From our personal, Savage Lake residential experience, the lake (we do not live on Wetland Shore Ave, by the way - our street name is one thing we hold on to as our proof of "lakedom") was higher in the summers of both 2002 and 2003 than it has ever been since, including its highest this year, a few weeks ago. We now have some shrub roses planted where our 02/03 high-water mark was and the water is still at least many inches lower than this point. Those first two years I even had to be careful when mowing that I did not submerge the mower wheels at the edge of the lawn. No such problems since.
4) I put in our dock in July 2004 and used waders to do most of it, as the water was 18"-24" at the end of the new dock. At that time, the cattails were no further out than the first three feet of the dock's length, extending into the water. They have now almost completely enveloped the full 19 foot length of the dock, as they seek water that had receded. It was not long after the dock installation that the water went down precipitously and the dock that had been in at least 18" of water was land-locked by mud flats the rest of that summer and nearly all of summer 2005.
5) I think your statement that the water would have been low anyway, even without the new weir is only partially accurate. The new weir did not allow the lake basin, the spring following its installation, to retain spring snow melt and spring rain in order to retain a little depth through the drought. Had more water been allowed to remain, the percolation and evaporation would have had less effect than it did.
6) We look forward to working with our city council, city staff and others to pursue some common sense solutions to the two matters of most concern; water level and weed removal. We truly hope you will advocate with our legislative reps, state agencies and other involved entities to balance any competing interests.
7) Please keep in mind that all we are asking for is a return to the way things were prior to 2004. These are not requests to enhance, but to restore. And since public entity action had a hand in creating the current situation, it makes sense for public entity action to pursue and facilitate restoration, whether the lake is a lake or a wetland, whether it is considered private or public. It is we, the residents of the lakeshore who have been adversely affected, and not by our own action. Please keep these important points in mind as we proceed.
We look forward to taking the next steps.

Goose Control is Back!

From the June 11, 2008 City Council Meeting came the following important decision that affects every citizen in some undefined but critical way:


The City Administrator reported that it appears that the goose population in the City is on the increase, and he noted that the City has received a number of calls relative to this problem. The Administrator pointed out that Dr. Cooper has retired; however, there is a new person who has taken over for him in administering the goose control program. The Administrator asked whether the Council was in support of goose removal in key areas of the City for 2008 as has been done in the past.

Mr. Montour introduced the following resolution and moved its adoption:


The foregoing resolution was duly seconded by Blesener.

Ayes (5).

Nays (0). Resolution declared adopted.

Obviously, all of the city's important problems are resolved and we are down to the completely irrelevant stuff. The Council doesn't even bother to find out how many "calls" were received before making the decision to hire a goose hitman. As we learned a couple of years ago, when the terrifying spector of wild geese was addressed in the City Council, some folks in our city who are afraid of the "giant birds." One citizen complained that geese "wing whip" his dogs and children, or some such weirdness. As usual, the council has decided to spend money on this project, without consulting the majority. At the least, you'd expect some numbers to be discussed but in the past the city has coughed up as much as $50/goose to a character named "Dr. Cooper" and his gang of unpaid college serfs.

In case you didn't now what happens to the geese, the adults are killed and sold or given to a food shelter and the chicks are sold to a Cheney-style hunting ranch. It's all for a good cause, I'm sure.


Jun 3, 2008

5-28-2008 Little Canada City Council Meeting Notes

The following are notes taken by Ms. Kathy Glanzer, the city clerk, at the 5-28-2008 Little Canada City Council Meeting. You can obtain your own copy by emailing her to join the city's emailing list at kathy.glanzer@ci.little-canada.mn.us.

Rocky Waite, Lakeshore Avenue, appeared before the Council to discuss the issues of water level and water quality in Savage Lake. Waite noted that he addressed the Council on these issues in April, and just learned yesterday when he stopped in the City Center to request to be on this evening’s agenda that a meeting with the Watershed has been scheduled for June 17th. Waite indicated that he was hoping for quicker action, and stated that someone could have notified him of the meeting.

Allan indicated that the delay was in getting schedules coordinated and reported that it was just last Friday that the June 17th date was set.

The City Administrator reported that notice of the meeting is being included in the upcoming issue of the City’s newsletter. Mailed notices will be sent out as well. He reported that the Watershed will conduct the meeting, and that the City Engineer and the Public Works Superintendent are gathering information for the meeting.
Waite reported that in April the Public Works Superintendent indicated that the meeting would occur in a week or two.

McGraw indicated that the delay in getting the meeting scheduled was his fault as he asked the Watershed, Council Member Allan, and City Staff to work around his schedule. McGraw stated that he wanted to be a part of this meeting.
Blesener noted that the meeting is scheduled for June 17th and that information for this meeting is being put together by the Watershed, City Engineer, and Public Works Superintendent. He noted that the Council has no information to provide Mr. Waite this evening, and the discussion of water levels and quality will have to wait until June 17th.

Waite pointed out that water going into Savage Lake is not being treated and is polluting the lake. The City Administrator pointed out that when Lakeshore Avenue was improved, there were no water quality standards in place, and the street improvement project was done properly. Part of the information that is being gathered will include options that can be pursued at this time to improve water quality.

Waite pointed out the City’s sump pump program that required property owners to disconnect sump pump systems from their sanitary sewer and divert this water into their yards. He also noted the many many hours that the City is spending trying to get Ryan Industrial Park cleaned up. Waite felt attention was needed in addressing Savage Lake. He pointed out the increase in the amount of lily pads on the lake. Blesener noted that this will be addressed by the Watershed on June 17th.

Waite asked if Gopher Electronics would be allowed to continue dumping into Savage Lake. The City Administrator pointed out that there were no water quality standards in place at the time the Gopher Electronics site was developed. The Administrator noted that part of the study will identify options for improving water quality. When those options are known, the City can ask Gopher Electronics for voluntary compliance. Montour clarified that Gopher Electronics is not dumping into Savage Lake. What Mr. Waite is addressing is storm water run-off from the Gopher Electronics property into the Lake. Montour suggested that Mr. Waite have some proof or documentation before making comments such as this.

Waite asked what happened to the proof that he brought in last year relative to the Roseville Area Middle School. The City Administrator noted the distance from the Middle School to the lake, and pointed out that the Watershed contacted the School about this. The Administrator noted that resolution of the issues will not occur this evening as the Council does not have all the information or answers tonight. The meeting is scheduled for June 17th.

Waite noted the comment that Mayor Blesener made in April relative to his son using the lake some years ago. Blesener noted that that usage occurred 30 to 35 years ago, with his son indicating the shallowness of the lake at that time. Blesener also pointed out that lily pads are not native to Savage Lake but were brought in by boats.

The City Administrator reported that the Watershed will be taking core samples of the lake to determine if lake levels have changed. The City Engineer will also be providing survey and elevation change information. The Administrator noted that this will not be a full blown water quality study, but will identify practical things that can be done to improve water quality. The Administrator indicated that if Mr. Waite has new concerns, that he should identify those so that staff can be prepared to address them on June 17th.

Waite asked about the additional run-off from I35E. The City Administrator reported that it is his understanding that freeway drainage into the lake has been discontinued as part of the freeway project. The Public Works Superintendent is verifying this information.

Waite asked about water quality improvement efforts relative to the St. Jude Project. The City Administrator replied that the St. Jude Project has been required to provide extensive ponding and meet pretreatment standards.

Waite felt that the City should stand up for Savage Lake and do what is right. Blesener pointed out that sometimes it is difficult to make such improvements after the fact simply because there is no room to install treatment ponds, etc. The City Administrator noted that no piping has been added in the last 10 years, and a freeway pipe has been removed. The Administrator also pointed out the ponding improvements for Twin Lake through the freeway system. The Administrator noted that the City is taking whatever steps it can to improve water quality as the opportunities arise. The Administrator indicated that there still may be some things that can be done, and those options will be discussed on June 17th.

Waite noted previous comments made by the City that the DNR sets the high water level. Waite reported that he obtained a document from the DNR indicating that there is no high water level for Savage Lake. Waite reported that there currently is an artificial lake level on Savage. Allan asked for a copy of this document. The City Administrator stated that it is his understanding that the DNR sets the high water mark. Waite commented that in September of 2004 the water elevation was 895.4.

Blesener pointed out that a lot of questions have been raised, and it is hoped that the Watershed and the City will have the answers on June 17th. The Administrator again asked Waite if he had any new issues to raise so that staff can be prepared to provide answers on June 17th. Montour suggested that Waite put his list of questions in writing and submit them to the City Administrator. In that way the proper research can be done prior to June 17th.

Waite stated that he would like to see the lake level up so that Savage looks like a lake again. Otherwise the people living on Savage should be recognized as living on a storm sewer pond and their taxes adjusted accordingly. The Administrator pointed out that the Watershed is doing core sampling of the lake bottom, and the City Engineer has done some testing to determine the depth of the deltas at the inflow pipes. Waite reported that he has called the City Engineer who does not respond to these calls. He also reported that he has looked at maps provided by the City Engineer and the DNR, and the lake levels are not the same. The Administrator asked if the elevations were correlated. Waite pointed out that water depth was easy to compare, it is either a specific depth or it is not.

Blesener again noted the June 17th meeting to be held at the City Center at 7:30 p.m. There will be representatives from the Watershed, two City Council Members, the City Engineer, City Administrator, and Public Works Superintendent present at that meeting. The Administrator stated that notices will be sent out approximately two weeks before the meeting, and a notice has been included in the City’s newsletter. The Administrator stated that he is working with the Watershed to determine what area drains into Savage Lake, and notices will be sent to those property owners within this drainage area.

Waite indicated that he would put together a list of questions prior to the meeting. He indicated that his goal is to make Savage Lake look like a lake rather than a mud hole.

Tom Day, Lakeshore Avenue, suggested that the City take a different approach and obtain information from the people living around the lake to determine what actually has happened. He noted that some people have lived on Savage Lake for the past 30 years and know that lake well. It is those people who should tell the Watershed what is going on.

Allan noted that this is one of the purposes of the meeting. Blesener indicated that he has looked at the outlet three or four times since April, and water has not been running over. Blesener stated that to him the lake appears to be at a normal level, and indicated that he viewed lake levels from the Freeman and Smith properties as well.

Day indicated that they have lived on the lake for the past 11 years and have seen dramatic changes. He also noted that it is not just boats that bring in lily pads, but birds as well. There were some lily pads on the lake 11 years ago, but they increased around the lake. Day indicated that lily pads would not grow if the lake was consistently deeper than four feet.

Blesener stated that the City will have some answers at the June 17th meeting, but pointed out that these answers may not be what Waite and Day want to hear. Blesener also noted that the City has very little control over the water level issue. The Administrator also pointed out that water quality treatment standards have dramatically increased over the last few years.