The year 2021 ended as it began, with the Covid-19 pandemic still with us, and even ramping up from where it was a year ago. Despite this, there are many positives to report. The Leech Lake Association Board was able to meet in person throughout the year, which wasn't possible in 2020 before widespread vaccinations became available. Still, during the shutdown and since, we have been able to continue our work uninterrupted, thanks to our volunteers and the financial support of our loyal membership.
During the summer of 2021 we continued to collect monthly water samples from four locations on Leech Lake for the fourth year in a row. This work will continue yearly going forward to allow us to track potential changes in water chemistry or phytoplankton populations over time due to the presence of Zebra Mussels and other invasive species.
I am also pleased to report that the Northern Water Land Trust closed in December on sensitive lakeshore on Miller Bay which we have long sought to protect. This property involves some six acres and 1,300 feet of shoreline adjacent to offshore spawning beds where muskies and other fish are known to spawn. The property will be deeded over to the DNR as an Aquatic Management Area (AMA). The Leech Lake Association contributed significant financial support to this acquisition, as we have in the past to protect other sensitive shoreline areas on Leech Lake (e.g., Five Mile Point).
A newer challenge to all of us was the discovery this summer of Starry Stonewart in and adjacent to a harbor on Steamboat Bay. Starry Stonewart is a particularly nasty invasive in that it forms a scum on the surface which makes boat passage difficult. It also infiltrates the wild rice, which is another concern.
We began directing our resources at this new invasive this fall and are developing a plan of action with Cass County, the DNR, and the Leech Lake Tribe to halt or mitigate this latest threat. Please join the Leech Lake Association if you are interested in assisting us in these efforts. You will find a membership form on this website.
Robert Gisvold, President