On August 29th, leaders from around Prior and Spring Lakes gathered at Captain Jack’s on Upper Prior Lake for the third annual Boat Tour organized by the Freshwater Society in partnership with the Prior Lake-Spring Lake Watershed District. A number of groups were represented including the City of Prior Lake’s advisory committee, the Watershed District’s board of managers and citizen’s advisory committee and both Spring and Prior Lake Associations.
As on previous tours, this gathering on the water was about having fun as well as talking about the latest issues and topics in water protection and improvement. The two boat captains, Woody Spitzmueller and Donna Mankowski, took us up to the inlet from Spring Lake into Prior where we stopped and talked about managing the outlet. While the relatively new outlet channel from Prior Lake has made important progress in managing lake levels, some citizens are still concerned about high water levels and there was some discussion about how that could be managed at the Spring Lake outlet.
The tour then proceeded to Mud Bay where there was talk about lake history – including the time, many years ago, when the bay dried up completely during a drought. Jamie Dayton, an intern with the Watershed District then provided the group with a summary of the latest efforts to manage vegetation through a sonar mapping process. Utilizing technology similar to that for finding fish and partnering with citizen leaders who use the lake, the district is building a better understanding of when and where vegetation grows, as well as how densely.