While the Sturgeon Chain Lake Association is committed to working on all issues that affect our lakes, rivers, and community, the following programs continue to be the foundation of our activities.
PROGRAM COORDINATOR: Matt Specht / 651.315.0403 / email@example.com
• Our overall goal is to keep our lakes free from all invasive vegetation.
• Apply for federal, state and county agency funding for invasive species control.
• Partner with Northeast St. Louis County Soil and Water Conservation District.
• Periodically staff boat landings with cleaning stations on all lakes to curb invasive infestation during peak periods.
• Coordinate and provide education & prevention resources for locals and visitors.
- Our AIS (Aquatic Invasive Species) grant was approved for various AIS initiatives in 2023.
- AIS inspections were done at various landings throughout this past summer during the busiest weekends. These included inspections at Sixberry Landing, McCarthy Beach Landing, Rudstrom Landing, and the Perch Lake Landing.
- No invasive species were detected at any of the inspections.
- 2023 Summer Inspection Report:
- We intend to again apply for a new AIS grant to continue our inspection program on busy weekends throughout the summer 2024 season.
- We will be exploring the improvement of AIS signage on all landings in 2024.
- Purple Looseleaf continues to be reported in different areas of the lakes. See attachment for eradication tips
PROGRAM COORDINATOR: Matt Lucas / 218.969.6493 / firstname.lastname@example.org
• Our overall goal is to improve the quality of sport fishing on our lakes.
• Increase & improve annual walleye stocking program.
• Work with the DNR on determining which walleye strain is best for our lakes to increase survival rates and improve overall fish quality and numbers.
• Develop a program, in conjunction with the DNR, to optimize stocking procedures.
• Work with the DNR to identify and control other invasive fish species.
• Work with the DNR to determine optimal limit restrictions (if necessary) to enhance healthy populations of native species.
- We have continued to work with the MN DNR and Dave Weitzel (area supervisor) on fish management strategies affecting our lakes.
- The DNR completed fish management surveys on all lakes this past summer (2023). Final reports will be published here when completed. Preliminary reports for Big Sturgeon, Little Sturgeon, and Side Lake can be downloaded here.
- The SCLA funded and stocked over 2,500 walleye fingerlings into Big Sturgeon, Side Lake, Sixberry’s Landing, and Perch Lake this past May (2023).
- The MN DNR stocked 361 lbs. of walleye fingerlings in various locations throughout the lakes on October 16, 2023. This included 27 lbs. on Side Lake, 27 lbs. on Little Sturgeon, and 307 lbs. on Big Sturgeon. Dave Weitzel has been contacted to understand why the DNR never stocks South Sturgeon.
- We are working with the DNR to determine the best course of action for stocking in 2024 based on their 2023 net surveys. It is possible their recommendations will be for stocking bait fish (ie – perch) vs. walleye fingerlings based on poor results from past stocking efforts. The goal is to start building a more sustainable walleye population.
- Based on future DNR stocking recommendations, we are hoping to initiate another fundraising program to finance a spring stocking program.
- We are working with the DNR on opening part of the Riverside dam in the spring to enhance natural reproduction.
- We are working with the DNR on exploring the possibility of closing the north bay of Big Sturgeon to fishing during the crappie and bluegill spawning period this coming spring.
- We are in discussion with the DNR on possibly adjusting limits on crappie and walleye to improve size and quantity of these species.
PROGRAM COORDINATOR: Neil Gardner / 218.966.1113 / email@example.com
• Our overall goal is to continue to monitor and improve our overall water quality.
• Continue to proactively sample all seven of our lakes to monitor water clarity.
• Partner with the DNR to appropriately react (if necessary) to potential quality issues.
- Maintaining optimal phosphorous and alkaline levels in our lakes is critical to healthy fish habitat.
- Monthly water sampling in all (7) lakes was completed from May through September (2023) thanks to the stewardship of Neil Gardner and a group of volunteers.
- We are waiting for final reports of samples submitted to RMB Environmental Labs and reports will be posted here when received.
- There are no plans for additional sampling in 2024, as sampling takes place every (5) years. Sampling has been ongoing since the early 90’s.
PROGRAM COORDINATOR: Matt Specht / 651.315.0403 / firstname.lastname@example.org
• Our overall goal is to determine and maintain optimal lake levels for all lakes.
• Continue to work with the DNR and appropriate government agencies to complete the active study, which will determine appropriate static dam level into the future.
• Continue discussions with the DNR to possibly enhance natural fish reproduction up- river, by potentially removing part of the dam barrier each spring.
• Maintain the dam each year with debris cleaning efforts.
- We have continued to press the DNR for a copy of the watershed & dam study and to either release control of the dam back to the community or set it at a more reasonable level. That report has now been completed and is in the final drafts prior to release to the public. A copy of the report will be posted here when received.
- Dam gates were cleaned of debris and bogs in May (2023) to allow a more natural water flow. The DNR has informed the Lake Association that they are still trying to work with a contractor to get the gates cleaned once again before winter, which should help with spring water levels if we receive heavy snow again this winter. Please let us know if you have thoughts you want to share with the DNR on this issue.
- A 2024 plan and strategy will be developed once results from the watershed & dam study are complete. A copy of the study will be posted here when received.
- We are planning on exploring the various watershed inlets throughout the chain in 2024. Heavy beaver activity in the area is probably contributing to inlet flow restrictions, leading to lower water depths and possibly fish and water health issues throughout the chain.
PROGRAM COORDINATOR: Dave Sorensen / 402.651.6772 / email@example.com
• Our overall goal is to monitor and maintain our channels & landings to ensure safe and effective navigation of our lakes and rivers.
• Work with the DNR to ensure our landings and docks are properly maintained.
• Explore ways to enhance safety & navigation through the channels and problem areas between the lakes on the chain.
• Continue to work with St. Louis and Itasca counties to set additional buoys to mark rock piles and other shallow water hazards throughout our lakes.
• Continue to maintain the channels and rivers to control debris, logs, rocks, etc.
- We have worked with the DNR on the washout issues at Rudstrom Landing. They brought in roughly 30 yards of gravel and graded over where it had washed out due to storms.
- A beaver eradication effort and nuisance permit has been obtained this fall to control the beaver population and address property damage in the Little Sturgeon and South Sturgeon channels. The Association is actively working with a trapper to ‘relocate’ as many beavers as possible during the season. Land owners should be aware that they can eliminate any beavers observed taking down trees without any nuisance permit required.
- We are renewing our push for the dredging and shoring of the pinch at the Little Sturgeon channel. We have petitioned our representatives to allow us to resurrect and use the engineering study commissioned in 2013. The goal is to slightly widen the entrance onto Little Sturgeon so two boats can pass at the same time, eliminating back-ups in both directions. We are also looking to dredge the channel deeper and to shore it up with a natural rip-rap material. Representative Lislegard will be working with the DNR Commissioner on the permit issue and possible funding.
- If/when we receive approval for utilizing the old study, we will then prepare a comprehensive plan, develop a budget, obtain necessary permits and permissions, and explore funding options.
PROGRAM COORDINATOR: Our entire Board of Directors
• Our overall goal is to also work on a variety of other (broader) issues that affect our lakes and community.
• Continue to work with Itasca County, St. Louis County, French Township and Bearville Township on existing and future infrastructure issues that affect our community.
• Explore partnership opportunities with the IRRRB to enhance pedestrian and biking infrastructure throughout the community.
- We started discussions with the township and county on the possible widening of shoulders for walkers & bikers throughout the area.
- We supported the efforts of community volunteers for the development of pickleball courts at the community center. This is a game that is really taking off world-wide and the plan would be to start a summer league once courts are developed.
- The last we heard, the Township was going to potentially utilize the existing hockey rink for the pickleball courts. There were discussions regarding resurfacing the rink and putting the necessary markings for courts. They also talked about installing benches and portable nets.
- We will continue to work with the township and county on future development of pedestrian lanes throughout the community. We are not talking about bike paths through private property, but rather potentially widening one shoulder of certain high pedestrian and biking roads throughout the community in an effort to keep people safer. First stop will be with the St. Louis County Engineers to explore the feasibility of the project. If/when that hurdle gets cleared, it becomes how much it would cost and whether the cost would be worth it.
- We will continue to support the pickleball court development efforts as deemed necessary. This may come about as use of our non-profit status for their fund- raising efforts.
The success of our organization and programs depends on the support of our members, both in membership dues and volunteer opportunities, so please consider joining today!