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Trout Lake access rebuilt with environment in mind

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Several local agencies came together recently to rebuild the Trout Lake public boat access on County Road 66 north of Crosslake.

The Crow Wing County Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD), Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR), the Army Corps of Engineers (COE), and the Whitefish Area Property Owners Association (WAPOA) all worked together to make better for the quality of the lake.

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Corrine Hodap, of the COE, said the area had been identified as an area of concern in the fall of 2011. She said that without the cooperation of all agencies, the project wouldn’t have been possible.

Previously, the launch parking lot had a slope that caused water to run off into the lake, said Darren Mayer of the SWCD. Part of rebuilding the launch was to change the slope of the lot.

Now, water from the parking lot flows into rain gardens installed on the east side of the lot, where the water is filtered through the soil before entering the lake.

Slope wasn’t the only improvement on the boat launch. On the shoreline south of the public beach, the area was seeded and then volunteers from WAPOA planted thousands of native plants in the area that will fill in over time.

Mayer said the roots of the grasses planted there grow 10-20 feet deep, acting as rebar and cement to hold the shoreline in place.

A coir (coconut husk) log was installed on the shore and planted as well, which will aid in filtering runoff. A fence was installed to prevent cars from backing over the plants.

Mayer said that previously, vehicles hadn’t been using the launch on the south end of the access, but had been backing down the shoreline. The fence will prevent that. Mayer added that sections of fence will be removed in the winter to maintain access to the lake by snowmobilers.

Much of the area was hydroseeded — a combination of seed and mulch was sprayed onto the shore of the lake and the rain gardens, then held in place by a mat of pine mulch, which will prevent the seeds from washing away.

Mayer said all the materials used, including coir logs and pine mulch mats, are designed to biodegrade over time as the plants take over.

Preventing runoff will help maintain the clarity of Trout Lake, Mayer said. WAPOA has taken measurements of lake clarity and saw that clarity has gone down over the years.

“Less sediment (from runoff) will benefit that issue,” Mayer said. “It’s definitely going to help stabilize the lake.”

The access also had new dock and launch pad installed. The SWCD hosted a workshop for contractors on Friday, June 14, and the access was reopened that evening.

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