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.

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