August 14, 2023 at 10:05 a.m.
What’s happening at Moody Lake?
Moody Lake, on the south end of Chisago County is most well-known because of the rare, round blue barn on its shores. But, it holds an integral position in the overall watershed supporting both Comfort Lake and Forest Lake and their tributaries; so the health of Moody Lake has been a watershed district priority for some time.
Last week a pilot vegetation transplanting program got started to reinvigorate the lake. The Comfort Lake Forest Lake Watershed District staffers and researchers grabbed about 100 desireable plants from Lake Keewahtin (south of Forest Lake) and prepped the plants, and on August 1 these were distributed into Moody Lake.
Transplanting was done at about a 15-foot depth.
Moody Lake has been harvested for its invasive and non-native plant growth. Curlyleaf pondweed is of most concern but as water quality was steadily improving under district measures the past few years— the Fisheries Systems Ecology Lab at the U of MN was brought in. Transplanting aquatic plants is relatively new, explained Jessica Lindmyer, Watershed District. Dr. Michael Verhoeven, Lab Manager and Research Fellow at the U of MN, hopes to use this Moody Lake project to develop a guideline for successful freshwater transplanting and find what’s successful as well as learn what should be avoided.
Lindmyer explained that Moody Lake was added to the state’s impaired water list in 2008.
The watershed district board of managers set a goal for phosphorous reduction (which is a plant nutrient) and regular testing shows the lake phosphorus content has dipped to 88 percent of the goal. This translates to 879 pounds annually reduced from the lake. This results from wetland enhancements, ponding and filtering stormwater run-off from local ag operations and stables, and other best management projects. Moody Lake met state phosphorus standards for the first time in 2020, Lindmyer said. While the statistics are not quite there, this is “very close” to achieving “delisting.”
The full data and a district report can be found in the 2022 Progress Report on the Comfort Lake Forest Lake Watershed District’s website at www.clflwd.org.