2015 News

2015 Ice On Date-12/27/15

posted December 30, 2015
It's official - the ice is ON Lower Hay Lake!!!  See the MN DNR Ice Safety Guide for more information to ensure you are safe out on frozen lakes!!  For historical ice on and off dates for Lower Hay Lake, visit the Weather  page.

Lower Hay Lake friend, Don Dale, passes away

posted December 28, 2015
On 12/24/15, Lower Hay Lake lost a long time friend - Don Dale. Read his obituary in the Star Tribune here.

Loon Update

posted December 14, 2015 
In our Fall Newsletter, we had a story about two baby loons that hatched this summer on Lower Hay Lake - one on the north side of the lake and the other near the public access.  With the help of Research Biologist, Kevin Kenow and his team, the loons were studied this summer and outfitted with devices to aid in tracking their whereabouts during their migration journey south.  The Upper Midwest Environmental Sciences Center website has a map that shows where the loons have gone since leaving Lower Hay Lake.  Click here to see current loon locations - scroll over a plot point on the map to see where the loon was hatched (Lower Hay loons are IDs - lhl1_15 and lhl2_15).  To watch a loons flight south - simply click on a plot point to activate the map.  Unfortunately, loon lhl2_15 last transmitted on 11/30/15 and was reported as deceased with a last known location in Mississippi.  

DNR Slashes Grants to Fight Eurasian Milfoil

posted October 5, 2015 Source: MN Star Tribune 10/4/15
"The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is slashing the money it gives to dozens of cities and lake groups to treat aquatic invasive species, including Eurasian milfoil, on more than 100 lakes. The DNR grant program that awarded $675,000 this year will cut its offerings to $200,000 next year for budget reasons, according to Wendy Crowell, its ecological resources grants coordinator."  Read more...


Fireworks Show on Lower Hay Cancelled Indefinitely

posted September 29, 2015
The 2016 fireworks on Lower Hay have been cancelled. The Friends of Lower Hay board, with a 7-3 vote, along with two abstaining, voted to suspend fireworks on Lower Hay indefinitely. In the past few summers, Lower Hay property owners have experienced property damage from the fireworks show. This summer, four boat lift canopies needed to be replaced due to burning embers from fireworks falling on them. One property owner was hit in the face by a burning fireworks ember. As a result of the property damage, personal injury and financial claims that were made to Zambelli Fireworks - and the potential for future injuries, damages and claims - most board members feel the liability risk for the association is too great to continue with the fireworks show. We invite comments at: folh.web@tds.net or please call the association’s President, Steve Curry, at: 952-351-4210 and leave him a voice mail. 

Sandpiper Pipeline Project Likely Delayed With Ruling

posted September 15, 2015 Source: MN Star Tribune 9/14/15
"The Minnesota Court of Appeals ruled Monday that a full-scale environmental review must be completed before plans for a controversial crude oil pipeline across northern Minnesota can proceed."...read more...

Lower Hay Lake friend, John B. Emkovik, passes away

posted September 14, 2015
On 9/4/15, Lower Hay Lake lost a long time friend - John B. Emkovik.  Read his obituary in the Star Tribune here.

From runoff to ruin: The undoing of Minnesota's lakes

posted September 8, 2015 - Source: MN Star Tribune 8/7/15
"Land use did the damage; much of it can't be undone.  In some parts of the state, however, there's still hope.  If 75% of a lakeshore remains mainly forested, the change of maintaining lake quality is good.  But when natural cover falls below 60%, lakes begin to deteriorate"...read more...

Is Mille Lacs Harbinger of Other MN Walleye Fisheries?

posted August 28, 2015 - Source: Minnesota Lakes & River Advocates Blog 8/4/15
“MN DNR closed walleye fishing on Lake Mille Lacs in an effort to protect the resource. The impact of the walleye fishery collapse on the resorts and related businesses from restaurants, gas stations, bait shops, and the impact on property values surrounding the lake are devastating…” What can be done to keep the Whitefish Chain and Lower Hay lake from following suit?…read more...

Zebra Mussels found in the lake over the 4th of July

posted July 8, 2015

An adult zebra mussel was discovered during this 4th of July by a member of the Tom Mathews’ family who was swimming off their beach on the southeast side of Lower Hay Lake.  It was attached to a native clam at a depth of about 5 feet.  He found several more, most attached to a clam and one to a rock.  There were not any by themselves on the sandy bottom.


The first adult zebra mussel was found in Lower Hay in July 2013 within 100 feet of the Lower Hay access. At that time DNR divers could not find any other zebra mussels.  Plankton netting of Lower Hay in 2013 did find the microscopic zebra mussel larvae (veligers) floating freely in our lake water.

In November of 2014 Dave Topinka (near the opening to Whitefish) and several others noted small zebra mussels attached to the base plates of their docks.

We are at a point now where we can expect an ongoing noticeable increase in the number of zebra mussels.  Boaters this summer must take measures to protect their boats and motors from damage caused by zebra mussels. They attach to the hull and plug up the cooling systems of motors, the tubing in live wells, and the interior of the plastic ballast tanks on wakeboard boats.

Zebra mussels are killed by heat and by drying out.  So drain water from the motor after each use and lift the boat out of the water after each use.

Taking five minutes to read this article may save your motor and protect your boat.

To protect the feet of swimmers of all ages, it may not be too early to advise some sort of protective footwear for those wading in the water. A broken zebra mussel shell is very sharp.

A final note.  Currently, there is no practical way to eliminate zebra mussels from our lake.  Anything that does kill them either kills everything else in the lake, or is too expensive.    

Zebra Mussel Treatment Success - will it work for Lower Hay?

posted Apr 23, 2015
From the MN DNR:  "Initial searches indicate a three-step treatment of Christmas Lake in Shorewood for zebra mussels has been effective, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.  The results show the successful treatment of a small, isolated infestation of zebra mussels that was detected early."....read more

What does this mean for Lower Hay?  Treatment plans are still in very early experimental stages and have only been tested on small bodies of water.  

See attached article for additional information regarding barriers to executing zebra mussel treatments.  

2015 Volunteer Watercraft Inspector Class

posted Apr 20, 2015
Volunteer watercraft inspection classes are being announced for the Brainerd area.  These classes are for those who have never taken a training or whose training was not recent.

Saturday May 2, 2015
9am - 12pm
1601 Minnesota Drive, Brainerd (Brainerd DNR Office)
Wednesday May 20, 2015
9:30am - 12:30pm
35458 Butternut Point Rod, Ideal Corners (Ideal Community Center/Fire Hall)

Classes taught by MN DNR, Registration is requested, but not required.  Contact Keri Hull, MN DNR - 218-833-8737 or email keri.hull@state.mn.us

Volunteers who took classes in 2013 or 2014 will be able to satisfy their update requirement with an online course.  Details will be announced when that is available.

2015 Ice Out Date 4/12/15

posted Apr 13, 2015
It's official - the ice is out on Lower Hay Lake!!!  Enjoy your 2015 season on the lake!

Access Monitors for 2015

posted Mar 23, 2015
We are now determining the most cost effective way to have inspectors for the 2015 boating season at our Lower Hay access.  They will look for invasive species on boats that are launching and will be available to educate a boater about what he/she can do to avoid carrying invasive species into Lower Hay.

This involves arranging for paid DNR-trained inspectors from the DNR and also DNR-trained inspectors from the County.  We are able to arrange for some at no cost to us and others at varying cost depending on DNR and Crow Wing County rates.  

Your contributions and membership in Friends of Lower Hay are necessary for us to be able to provide inspectors.  

Postponement of new DNR trailer decal requirement

posted Mar 23, 2015
The MN DNR has announced that beginning July 1, 2015 any trailer carrying a boat or any water-related equipment must have a new decal.  There are ongoing efforts in the MN Legislature to repeal this requirement.
To obtain the decal the owner of the trailer must pass a 10-question test about invasive species.  For a nominal fee, the course and test may be taken online or completed on paper.  The purpose is to acquaint those hauling boats and other water equipment with information they can use to prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species.  The penalty for not having a decal is a warning.

Opponents say it interferes with tourism.  While proponents argue the number of infected lakes in MN has nearly doubled in the last 3 years and is needed to get everyone familiar with how to prevent the transfer of invasive species from one lake to another.  

For more information: http://www.trailers.mndnr.gov/

The legislature will decide sometime in the 2015 session what happens to this requirement.