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Plans for three Douglas County lakes nearing completion

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Property owners on Lake Irene, Lake Mary and Lake Miltona or other people who want more information on how they can be involved in their lakes are encouraged to attend the Douglas County Lake Association meeting.

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It will take place Wednesday, October 13 at the Douglas County Public Works Building at 526 Willow Drive in Alexandria at 4:30 p.m.

The speaker is Don Hickman of the Healthy Lakes and Rivers Partnership, who has worked with more than 240 lake and river groups since its beginning in 1999.

Representatives from Lake Miltona, Lake Mary and Lake Irene are currently submitting their final strategic lake management plans to the Healthy Lakes and Rivers Partnership and West Central Initiatives.

When plans are approved and grant funds received, work can begin on the implementation phase. The plans were developed in special focus meetings held by each lake association. Members were encouraged to attend and to have input on what they as a group felt was critical for their lake.

According to Bonnie Huettl of Lobster Lake, "Working on these plans and implementing the projects can bring a sense of community and ownership to the members besides benefiting the lake itself."

Lobster Lake completed its plan in 2005 and will soon be working to update that plan. Each lake association has specific priorities for action depending on the conditions in and around their lakes.

Lake Miltona, for example, will move ahead to establish a long-term program to monitor water quality by chemical analysis of the lake water, which differs from just measuring water clarity.

Funds from the grant along with trained local volunteers and professional water testing will ensure that the monitoring system is thorough and ongoing so as to address any potential damage to the lake now and in the future, according to Huettl.

Fisheries management, land management and zoning, aquatic and shoreland vegetation, wildlife habitat and other important objectives are included in the various strategic plans being completed by the three lake associations.

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