Drought blamed for dropping White Bear Lake level

Eurasian milfoil treatment areas are shown on this map provided by the White Bear Lake Conservation District. About 50 acres were treated earlier this month for the invasive weed. 

WHITE BEAR LAKE — No surprise that lake level has dropped in the last 30 days. 

Last week, White Bear Lake measured 924.05 inches, which is down 3.5 inches from the same week in June. The level is 7 inches lower than at ice out and a foot lower than last year, noted Mike Parenteau, the White Bear Lake Conservation District board member responsible for keeping tabs on elevation. 

In his monthly lake quality report, Parenteau reminded the board that water levels cycle. "The lake isn't disappearing," he remarked. "We're in a drought cycle."

He also tracks water temperature, which read 84 degrees July 20, compared to 77 degrees last year at this time. "In 2019, the water was in the 80s, so it's in the right range. Nothing is out of whack," Parenteau said. 

The annual Eurasian watermilfoil survey found 50 acres of lake that required treatment this year, including new areas scouted by Parenteau (see map). Last year, 12 acres were treated with various herbicides. In 2010, 174 acres were treated. Treatment was completed July 15 at a cost of about $24,000. The conservation district budgets for the yearly expense. Bald Eagle Lake, he added, is not treating Eurasian watermilfoil at all this year. 

Invasive phragmites is next on the weed hit list. Volunteers will tackle treatment of the 12- to 14-foot-high weeds this fall. Another invasive, yellow-tail iris, was successfully eradicated last year.

In other business at the July 20 meeting, the volunteer board welcomed two new members: Christopher Churchill, representing Mahtomedi, and Daren DeYoung, representing Birchwood. Both filled vacant seats. 

Born and raised in White Bear Lake, Churchill shared that he worked at Parenteau’s clothing store on Fourth Street when he was 15. "It's fun to go full circle," he told the board and his former boss. Both men said they look forward to giving back to the community. 

 

— Debra Neutkens

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