Monthly Archives: June 2012

Park Board Acts to Prevent Aquatic Invasive Species From Entering City Lakes

The Park Board has circulated the following item:


Actions Include Controlled Boat Launch Hours and Increased Inspections

At its June 20, 2012 meeting, the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board (MPRB) adopted an emergency resolution aimed at preventing the spread of aquatic invasive species (AIS) from entering Minneapolis lakes.

The recommended actions in the resolution include requiring an inspection for AIS before a person launches any water-related equipment at the public boat launches on Lake Calhoun, Lake Harriet and Lake Nokomis. Inspectors will be on duty at each boat launch during the times of the day and days of the week that people are most likely to launch boats. These hours are:

• Monday – Thursday: 6 a.m. – 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. – 9 p.m.

• Friday – Sunday: 6 a.m. – 9 p.m.

Inspection hours begin July 13 and will run through Sept. 30, 2012.

Additionally, the action taken by the Board immediately closes the public boat launch at Wirth Lake. The removal of the current boat launch and construction of a new emergency and maintenance-only launch on the west side of the lake was part of the Theodore Wirth Regional Park Community Advisory Committee’s recommendations put forward to the Board on Wednesday evening.

“The lakes are the crown jewels of our park system, so protecting them from aquatic invasive species is a very high priority for our Board,” said John Erwin, MPRB president. “We all can see the detrimental impact of milfoil on our lakes, and the Park Board is committed to ensuring that our lakes can be enjoyed for years to come by protecting them from new invasive species.”

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has increased AIS inspections and enforcement throughout the state.

Under Minnesota law, it is illegal to transport invasive aquatic plants and animals, as well as water, from water bodies infested with aquatic invasives. Violators could face fines up to $500. Some penalty amounts will double beginning July 1.

To help prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species, anglers and boaters are required by law to:

• Drain bait buckets, bilges and live wells before leaving any water access.

• Remove aquatic plants from boats and trailers to prevent the spread of invasive species.

• Pull the plug on their boat and drain all water when leaving all waters of the state.

• Keep the drain plug out while transporting water-related equipment on roadways.

“Once an aquatic invasive species gets established, it’s very difficult – if not impossible – to eliminate it,” said Debra Pilger, Director, Environmental, Equipment and Volunteer Services. “That’s why it’s important to do everything we can to prevent aquatic invasives from entering in the first place.”

Pilger added that the preventative measures approved by the Board are for 2012 only.

“We’ll be looking at a full range of long-term options for AIS prevention over the fall and winter,” noted Pilger. “We’ll talk with recreational users of the lakes, the DNR, and others to determine what we’ll do in the future to provide access to the lakes while we protect them from aquatic invasives.”

View the attached FAQ for answers to potential questions regarding the Board’s resolution.


2012 Picture a Park Photo Contest

The following notice has been issued by the Park Board:


Take your best shot – submit your photos to the 2012 Picture a Park Photo Contest: which highlights the beauty, events and fun within the Minneapolis Park System.

For more information about the contest, including rules, guidelines, how to submit, as well as previous contest winning photos, visit

Minneapolis Limits Access to Lakes to Fight Invasive Species

The following article by Kelly Smith was published in the June 21, 2012 issue of the Star Tribune:


Park leaders in Minneapolis have imposed new restrictions on boat traffic on city lakes, a drastic effort to prevent the spread of invasive species that surprised anglers and conservation leaders.

The Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board unanimously approved an emergency resolution Wednesday that will require boats entering its lakes to be inspected, chaining off boat launches during weekday afternoons and other times when inspectors aren’t present.

The new rules go beyond state law — which doesn’t require boat checks unless an inspector is there — making it the most stringent such measure by a Minnesota city.

“We’re concerned about the loss of access and that we might end up with different restrictions across the state depending on who owns it,” said Steve Hirsch, director of the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources’ ecological and water resources division. “We need to be consistent.”

He said the DNR hasn’t determined if the city’s steps are legal. “We wish that they would’ve consulted us before that action,” he said.

The Park Board counters that to combat invasive species, they have to target boaters before they launch into lakes. By the DNR’s count this week, 20 percent of boaters are violating invasive species laws this year– up from 18 percent last year.

The Park Board was going to assemble a task force, but “we just felt it couldn’t wait,” said Debra Pilger, the board’s director of environmental, equipment and volunteer services. “We needed to do something now.”

Pilger said the new rules, which were approved by the board’s attorney, are only in effect this year. A task force will decide actions for after this year.

“This is really a stopgap measure for us,” she said. “The DNR can’t do it alone.”

It’s part of ramped-up measures statewide to protect Minnesota’s treasured lakes by the DNR, lake associations and cities. In Minneapolis, Lake Hiawatha and Minnehaha Creek already have zebra mussels, Pilger said — three of the more than 40 lakes and rivers in Minnesota with the fingernail-sized nuisance.

“We’re not White Bear Lake, we’re not Lake Minnetonka,” Pilger said. “We don’t have the boat traffic. We’re in a unique position that we might be able to protect our lakes longer.”

Minneapolis is hiring seven inspectors to add to a staff of up to 20 at boat launches at Lake Calhoun, Lake Harriet and Lake Nokomis.

From July 13 to Sept. 30, they’ll guard entrances from 6 to 10 a.m. and 5 to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday as well as 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Outside of those hours, boaters caught entering a launch could get a civil citation or fine.

Canoes or kayaks that don’t need a boat launch can enter the lakes without inspection.

The new rules are disappointing to frequent anglers like Larry Peterson, 46, of Hopkins, who fishes Minneapolis lakes six days a week.

“I think it’s a snap reaction to what’s happening,” he said about the spread of invasive species, pulling up his boat after fishing for muskies on Lake Calhoun on Thursday. “I hate to see restrictions. … I’ll have to make adjustments.”

While anglers want to protect natural resources, he said they should have been consulted before the new rules.

Since 2010, the Park Board has increased its defense against invasive species, moving all harvesting of milfoil to city-owned equipment to ensure it was not contaminated by outside lakes and now, shutting down Theodore Wirth Lake’s sole public boat launch. The extra inspections, additional staff time, education, new gates and signs this year will cost $100,000, taken from the Park Board’s reserves.

“We’re not closing these lakes down,” Pilger said. “We are maintaining access. We just feel it’s important to have boats inspected before then.”

Sixth District Dog Park Update

The following notice has been issued by the MPRB:


Progress is being made on development of the Sixth Park District Dog Park. The first round of construction documents has been completed and is being reviewed by City of Minneapolis departments. Initial reviews indicate a few modifications to the construction documents will be needed to better manage storm water at the future dog park. Park staff are hoping to have adjustments made in the next few weeks and continue with city processes. Construction is still anticipated this summer / fall. The project will have to get through a few more reviews before more specific information will be known about when work will begin.

For further information about the Sixth Park District Dog Park, visit the project page: on the MPRB website.

F E R C Initiates Proceedings to Terminate Crown Hydro's License


On June 14, 2012, FERC issued a statement stating that they are initiating proceedings to terminate Crown Hydro’s license. They are doing so “because Crown has had 13 years to complete the project but has failed to do so, and they cannot demonstrate that they will complete the project in the foreseeable future. Any comments, motions to intervene or protests are due by July 19, 2012.”

Please refer to the attached letter for the complete notice.

Arlene Fried

Co-founder of Park Watch

Reminder: Nokomis C A C Meeting June 21


There will be a Nokomis CAC Meeting this Thursday at 7:00 P.M. at the Nokomis Community Center. During this meeting, the CAC will be reviewing proposals and selecting vendors to be interviewed on July 12. For detailed information, check out the accompanying attachments.

Arlene Fried

Co-founder of Park Watch.


Heads-Up for the June 20, 2012 Park Board Meeting


5:00 P.M. REGULAR BOARD MEETING. The meeting will be held in the boardroom at Park Board headquarters, 2117 West River Road, just north of Broadway Pizza.

5:30 P.M. OPEN TIME. Speakers can call 612-230-6400 before 3:00 p.m. the day of the meeting to sign up or they can sign up at the Board meeting prior to the start of “Open Time.”

6:30 P.M. PUBLIC HEARING. Theodore Wirth Regional Park Citizen’s Advisory Committee Concept Plan and Funding Priorities

Some agenda items of interest to be reviewed or voted on are:

–InnerCity Tennis

–Proposal for the Sculpture Garden Renovation

–Appointment of the Above the Falls Citizens Advisory Committee

–Cooperative Use Agreement with Three Rivers Park District Regarding the Intercity Regional Trail

–Aquatic Invasive Species Control

–Board Rules Discussion

–Resolution to accept Recommendations of the Theodore Wirth Regional Park Citizen’s Advisory Committee and Approve the Concept Plan and Funding Priorities

The complete agenda, with staff reports, for the MPRB Board of Commissioners’ meeting on Wednesday, JUNE 20, 2012 is at

Also of interest and now available to the commissioners and the public are the monthly reports that Superintendent Miller has initiated for construction permits and for Planning Department projects. The availability of these reports is one of the important changes instituted by Superintendent Miller. Look for the links to these reports under Petitions and Communications in the agenda for the first Regular Meeting of the month.

MPRB meetings are telecast live from 5-9 p.m. on the City of Minneapolis Government Meeting Channel 79 on Comcast cable and online at

The regular meetings are retelecast on Channel 79 at 1 p.m. Saturdays and 5 p.m. on the second and fourth Wednesdays of each month. Webcasts for the recent two months are posted two to five business days after the meeting and are available for viewing under “Webcast Archives” at

The Park Board’s website is The phone number is 612-230-6400.

Arlene Fried

Co-founder of Park Watch

Heads-Up for the June 20, 2012 Committee of the Whole Meeting


3:00 — 5:00 P.M. COMMITTEE OF THE WHOLE MEETING (The one that was previously cancelled.) The meeting will be held in the Minnehaha Room at Park Board headquarters, 2117 West River Road, just north of Broadway Pizza. This meeting will be followed by the Regular Board Meeting at 5:00 P.M.

The Topic of Discussion: 2013 Budget Overview Follow-up

The following link is to the agenda for the MPRB Committee of the Whole meeting for Wednesday, June 20, 2012.

Arlene Fried

Co-founder of Park Watch

Plan for Wirth Park Includes More Off-Road Biking, Ski Center

The following article by Nick Halter was published in the June 11, 2012 issue of the Southwest Journal:


A citizen group tasked with planning renovations for Theodore Wirth Park has come up with a recommendation for a $20 million plan that includes more mountain biking, a winter sports center and an extended cross-country trail where snow is made.

The plan will be up for a public hearing at the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board Headquarters at 6:30 p.m. June 20.

The bulk of the changes will come on the north side of the park, where the plan calls for a $4.9 million “Welcome Center” that would house a clubhouse for the par 3 course and a winter recreation meeting and event center.

Cross country trails would be added to the area around the par 3 course and a dog park would be built west of the chi pping green, closer to the Humane Society.

The plan also calls for 1.6 miles of mountain biking trails through the woods just west of the Theodore Wirth Parkway and south of Glenwood Avenue. They would also be available for hiking and snowshoeing. New shelters would be built near Wirth Lake.

The Park Board, when it eventually adopts a plan later this summer, will be tasked with balancing the desires to keep the park natural and quiet with desires for more trails. Plus, golf course users are concerned about plans to shorten one hole on the 18-hole course and make it a par-71 course. Sand traps would be added.

The Park Board hopes to fund the project through a mixture of state money, Legacy Amendment dollars, Metropolitan Council grants and from its own budget. Because of expanded trails and a new restaurant in the chalet, the Park Board expects annual revenue at the park to increase from $1 million a year to $1.7 million a year after 10 years.

Smaller parts of the plan call for improvements to the Eloise Butler Wildflower Garden, a relocated tubing hill to what is now the 17th hole, more ski trail lighting, better snowmaking equipment and building rehabilitation.

For more information on the project, visit

Construction of Lyndale Dog Park to Begin in July

The following article by Nick Halter was published in the June 11, 2012 issue of the Southwest Journal:


The Park Board in early June was preparing paperwork in order to send out for bid the construction of a new dog park in Lyndale Farmstead Park, said Jennifer Ringold, manager of public engagement and citywide planning.

If things go according to plans, Ringold said construction would begin in July with hopes of opening the park by fall.

The Park Board approved the dog park in December. To view more information on the project, visit