Lake level reading: ‘flirting with all-time high’

WHITE BEAR LAKE — The water level is up, again.

Like he’s done just about every month for years, White Bear Lake Conservation District director Mike Parenteau provided a quick report on lake health at the May 21 meeting. The news is good.

“Elevation right now (May 21) is 925.14 feet — 3.5 inches above last month,” reported the White Bear Lake board member.

Last month, Parenteau noted the lake level was 6 feet higher than the all-time low set in 2013. “Now we’re flirting with the all-time high, which is 926.7 feet. We need 18 inches.”

The all-time high mark was set in 1943. According to Parenteau, stories from “old-timers who are no longer with us” recalled the flooding in Birchwood and Wildwood. “They didn’t know what to do,” Parenteau said. “The DNR had the outlet set high then. In the middle of the night, people with sledgehammers took it out.”

The lake is almost a foot over the overflow outlet leading to Bald Eagle Lake, which is set at 924.3 feet. Water is also flowing fast out of Bald Eagle Lake, headed north.

Water temperature, Parenteau added, is 59 degrees, the same as last year at this time.


In other action at the May 21 meeting, the WBLCD board:

• Approved spending $46,000 for treatment of invasive watermilfoil this summer. A survey is planned in June to identify areas needing treatment.

• Approved a request by Docks of White Bear to expand from 200 to 250 slips.

When Birchwood board member, Susie Mahoney, questioned whether the marina’s northern dock impedes Tally’s repair area, owner Brian McGoldrick reminded the board that he is completely within the riparian area. “The Tract family has owned the property since 1959 and has 720 feet of shoreline,” McGoldrick pointed out. “Tally’s has 90 feet and the city 324 feet. If you look at the density of neighboring marinas, even with this addition, we are significantly less than other marinas in the area.”

McGoldrick, who also owns Admiral D’s, figures he lost $1 million when the lake level dropped. “I couldn’t rent 100 slips. Now that the lake is going up, I want to recoup that money because it will probably happen again,” he said. “The lake goes up and the lake goes down.”

• Approved purchase of 35 signs at $537 each for placement at public boat launches, beaches, etc. as part of the new anti-plastic campaign.

• Heard a report from treasurer Diane Longville.  

Longville wanted the board’s input on whether to balance the budget for 2020. The preliminary budget is $140,000. To balance that amount, cities must be allocated $70,500, she said. That number is divided among the five communities around the lake. License and dock fees may be increased to offset the allocation amount, a discussion held for next month. “Some cities have asked us to do that,” Longville said, “to have income come from the people using the lake.”

The budget will be approved in June.

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