Gilbert Lake

Association Newsletter

Vol. 2, Issue 1, Spring, 2001



Next   Meeting

The next Gilbert Lake Association meeting is Monday, May 7th at 7 p.m. at the Paul Bunyan Nature Center on Wise Road.  Please attend!


Agenda for the meeting:


·        Update on current projects of  the Association

·        Mailing and email list

·        Sign at public access


Riverside Drive update

·        Elect Officers for upcoming year

·        Creation of a Board of Directors

·        Future Association Projects or Events

·        Miscellaneous business



Action Taken at

2000 Meeting



Last year we met on May 2, 2000 and the Association discussed the following subjects and took the following action:


·        Approved annual testing of the lake at a cost of $170/year


·        Discussed "Lakescaping" and the importance of preventing nutrients from reaching the lake

·        Discussed development issues affecting the lake

·        Riverside Drive status

·        Private and county land on Gilbert 3

·        Approved spending up to $100 for creating a lake resident database

·        Approved sign construction costs of up to $500

·        Approved voluntary fishing limits



Improving Fishing on Gilbert Lake


At our annual meeting on May 2, 2000, the Gilbert Lake Association voted to adopt voluntary fish size limits for lake users. The goal is to increase the average size of northerns and improve fishing for bass and panfish. The voluntary limits are as follows:

·        Release all northerns over 22"

·        Limit crappie catches to five per person (the statewide limit is 15, but may be reduced next year)

·        Limit to ten the number of sunfish over 7" that are kept (the current statewide limit is 30, but may be reduced next year).


To educate the public about this size limits, the Association voted to build a sign to post at the  public access.  Hopefully, the sign will be finished and erected by the date of the next Association Meeting.


Crow Wing County Water Surface Task Force


Mary Claire Ryan provides us the following update:


This is my second year on this task force. It has dealt with issues such as water ski courses and slow no wake zones. At the March 2001 meeting the task force recommended that the County Commissioners adopt an ordinance restricting the placement of docks. In part, it reads as follows:

1. Only a riparian ( waterfront) property owner or lessee may place a dock, pier, wharf or boatlift in public water.

2. Docks, piers, wharfs, boatlifts and moored boats must be confined to the owner's or lessee's riparian zone…

3. A dock, pier, wharf, boatlift, moored boat or other structure placed in the water may not obstruct navigation. A dock or pier may not encircle or isolate a part of the waterway.

4. A dock, pier or wharf must be set back a sufficient distance from the property line to ensure that any adjacent boat lift, moored boat, attached deck, T or L, does not encroach on the riparian zone of an adjacent land owner or lessee.


The ordinance continues with enforcement issues as well as penalties. This ordinance is a result of people in the county running their docks out at an angle so their view is not obstructed. However it places their dock and boatlifts in their neighbor's view.  Obviously that causes a few problems! So don't be too concerned if you see a notice regarding a new dock ordinance because it should not adversely affect anyone that I can think of on Gilbert Lake. And hopefully it will resolve any future problems.



Bonfires Can Hurt Lakes


If you enjoy a bonfire near the shoreline, remember to shovel all of the ashes inland to prevent phosphorus in the ashes from seeping into the lake, according to University of Idaho researchers.  Better yet, do not burn near the lake. Phosphorus stimulates the growth of algae and aquatic plants and when they decompose, use up oxygen needed by fish and other aquatic life.






The concept of having a "buffer zone" at the edge of your shoreline is the solution to reduce erosion, algae blooms and poor water quality, according to the authors of the DNR book Lakescaping for Wildlife and Water Quality. A buffer zone is a strip of natural vegetation along at least 75% of a property's frontage. The goal of creating the buffer is to restore the shoreline with the native vegetation that was originally there, such as wildflowers, shrubs, grasses, and aquatic plants. The benefits of a buffer strip are many, as they:

·        Act as a filter to help prevent fertilizers and pesticides from reaching the lake

·        If planted with native plants, don't need any fertilizer

·        Help reduce shoreline erosion by slowing down and absorbing the water flowing toward the lake

·        Keep geese away from your yard, because they don't like tall grasses and wildflowers

·        Reduce homeowner maintenance because it doesn't need to be mowed

Without a buffer strip, nutrients such as phosphorus can reach the lake. One pound of phosphorus can produce up to 500 pounds of algae or aquatic plants. (If you must fertilize your lawn, be sure you only use phosphorus free--a zero middle number--fertilizer)


If you are interested in finding out more about Lakescaping, copies of the book will be available at the annual meeting ($19.95 less a 20% discount).



Maintaining Your

Septic System


The following article is based on a series of articles written by Ken Olson with the University of Minnesota Extension Service:


A septic system, just like a car, appliance, or tractor must be properly operated and maintained to ensure long-term, cost effective service. Many septic systems are installed and forgotten. After all, they're buried in the yard, "out of sight -- out of mind."

Septic systems fail for many reasons. Following are some simple home management techniques that will go a long way towards safe and cost effective sewage treatment:

Control Water Use

·        Limit water use by repairing leaky faucets, fixtures and appliances; installing low water use fixtures and reducing showers and toilet flushings

·        Do not empty roof drains and sump pump water into the septic system.

·        Spread water use as evenly as possible throughout the day and week.

Eliminate harmful products from system

·        Reduce use of harsh cleaners, disinfectants, detergents and bleach.

·        Dispose of solvents, paints, and unwanted medications elsewhere.

Keep grease, lint, food particles, cigarette butts, paper towels, disposable diapers, coffee grounds, plastic and other solid products out of the system.

·        Use only the necessary amounts of liquid phosphorous-free detergents and cleaners.



Additives -- do not use additives in your system. If bacterial activity is low, it is because disinfectants and other products are killing the bacteria. Some additives cause solids to become suspended in the liquids. These solids will end up in the drain field, causing significant damage.

Cleaning/pumping the septic tank

·        The septic tank must be cleaned or pumped regularly to remove all solids (possibly every year).

·        Always have the tank(s) cleaned through the manhole (20 to 24 inch opening) by flushing and back flushing so all solids can be removed.

Vegetative Cover

·        Mow but do not fertilize or water turf grasses over the drain field/mound.

·        Keep heavy vehicles (cars, tractors, snowmobiles, etc.) off of tanks, drain fields or mounds.

Ken Olson can be reached at the University of Minnesota Extension Service, phone: 1(800) 719-2825, (612) 241-2726


The Impact of Boating

On a Lake


A recent report by the Wisconsin DNR studied the impact of motorized watercraft on lakes. Some of the impacts are:

·        Water clarity. Propellers can disturb the lake bottom and waves created by watercraft cause shoreline erosion. These reduce water clarity, which affect fish, the depth of aquatic plants, dissolved oxygen content and water temperature.

·        Water quality.  Boat motors can add heavy metals, nutrients, and hydrocarbons to the water, which can affect pH and dissolved oxygen. These changes can impact fish and recreational uses. Two stroke engines (most outboards and all personal watercraft engines) are inefficient, and 25 - 30% of their fuel may go directly into the water!

·        Shoreline erosion.  Boat wakes can lead to shoreline erosion, especially where shoreline vegetation has been removed.

What are the solutions suggested by the study?

·        Establish no-wake zones. Most impact from boats are in the shallow-water, near-shore areas, so protecting those areas would have the greatest benefit.  Extending a no-wake zone 200 - 300 feet has the most potential to protect the lake and help reduce shoreline erosion.

Establish restricted areas of the lake. Certain areas, such as spawning, nesting and feeding areas should have no boat traffic.

·        Enforcement and education. Slow or no-wake zones are often ignored, so education and enforcement are necessary.

·        New boat technology. All boat engines are coming under stricter standards, but some not until 2025. Four stroke engines are cleaner and quieter.


Source: Tim Asplund, "The Effects of Motorized Watercraft on Aquatic Ecosystems, Wisconsin DNR and the University of Wisconsin Water Chemistry Program.









At the last annual meeting, the Association voted to spend up to $100 to obtain names, addresses and email addresses for all lake residents. The $100 was spent to get a printout from the county records. With this, Sally Jacobsen is verifying the information and Meegan Schaefer is inputting it into a database.  If you're not sure we have your email address or a current street address or phone number, please call 829-1704 or email  (We have the new E911 addresses)




Several projects need a sponsor! Please contact Paul Jacobsen (829-1726) if you are willing to do any of the following:


·        NEWSLETTER PRODUCTION. We can use someone who is willing to put together this newsletter. Right now, it probably won't be anything more than an annual event.  It would be great if someone could help produce it more often.


·        CREATION OF LAKE MAP.  It would be nice to have a map of the lake with the names of every resident listed on the map. Lake Hubert has done this for years, and it's a great way to get to know your neighbors on the lake.  Someone with skills on a basic computer drawing program could do this project. Parents -- this would be a great summer project for one of your teenage kids! We already have the list of residents. 


·        CREATION OF A GILBERT LAKE ASSOCIATION WEB PAGE.   We can base a web page at Consolidated Telephone's web site for free.  Web pages are quite easy to create with today's software, and it would be nice to have a place on the web where all lake information could be posted or accessed.  We could also have links to all the DNR data about Gilbert Lake -- lake maps, lake data, fisheries information, etc.  This would be a good summer project for a bored teen with some computer skills.


·        SEPTIC SYSTEM PUMPING PROGRAM. Some lake associations have made deals with septic system pumpers for discounted fees in return for regularly scheduled pumpings.  Not only would this save Gilbert Lake residents some money, it would also help the lake by ensuring that septic systems are properly maintained.





Lake association members can receive a discounted subscription to the magazine Focus on the Lakes for the first year (it's a very informative periodical for lakeshore owners). To receive this discount, sign up on the back page.  Even if you don't want the magazine, please become a member of the  Gilbert

Lake Association.

Gilbert Lake Association

c/o Paul and Sally Jacobsen

16118 Birchwood Lane

Brainerd, MN 56401



































Please come to the annual meeting or return the following to

16118 Birchwood Lane, Brainerd, MN 56401


Name              _____________________________


Address         _____________________________




Email address_____________________________


Sign me up as a member along with a one year subscription

to the Minnesota magazine Focus On the Waters (normally $15/yr,

reduced for lake association members to $10/yr)                                                $15 ________


Sign me up as a member only                                                                                   $5 ________


Make check payable to the Gilbert Lake Association