By Tom Hintgen

Otter Tail County Correspondent

Board members of the Lake Lida Property Owners Association (LLPOA), after meeting on March 23 with members of the county board of commissioners, came away feeling good about the establishment of a Lake Improvement District (LID) for Lake Lida.

Thus far the LLPOA board has signatures from more than 450 lake property owners who support establishment of the LID. That’s more than the 400 signatures needed to move forward with the LID approval process.

A future meeting with county board members will take place after County Auditor Wayne Stein officially verifies all of the signatures.

“LIDs already established in Otter Tail County are of great benefits to area lakes,” said County Board Chairman Lee Rogness. “We’re sure this will be the case with residents of Lake Lida.”

The other four county board members agreed with Rogness.

A Minnesota statute allows local citizen initiatives to petition counties to create lake improvement districts in order to address specific concerns within lake watersheds. 

This allows for greater local involvement in the management of lakes. The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is available to provide oversight and assistance.

The Lake Lida board members, on March 23, told county board members that they have worked hard to communicate as best they can with lake property owners about the reasons for establishment of a LID. More meetings will be forthcoming.

If the Lake Lida board eventually obtains the green light, the LID boundaries would include parcels of property, any part of which has lake frontage on North Lida, South Lida, and Venstrom Lakes in Lida Township of Otter Tail County.

Aquatic invasive species are the primary issue for the lakes included in the proposed LID boundary. Zebra Mussels and Curly Leaf Pondweed (CLP) are present within the lakes. 

Increasing frequency of CLP is suspected to be the cause of increasing trends toward eutrophication (which causes a dense growth of plant life and death of animal life from lack of oxygen), particularly in South Lake Lida.

This was demonstrated in the summer of 2018, when an algal bloom throughout the entire South Lake Lida led to degradation in water quality and a decreased quality of life for lake residents and visitors.

The LLPOA believes there is a common thread between quality of life and the water quality of Lake Lida. To that end, the board believes that the LID will work to ensure that the water quality, and resulting quality of life for residents, is sustained and improved.

The Lake Lida LID, with seven board members, would periodically assess the condition of current water quality. Data from monitoring would be used to assess the baseline water quality and identify pollutant sources.

In addition, the LID (if established) would promote Better Management Practices (BMPs) for lakeshore development to area residents that enhance water quality.

The LID would likely advocate for lake issues that could be subject to state or federal proposed legislation. However, the scope of advocacy would be limited to issues affecting water quality and lake health. 

The level of commitment (financially or otherwise) to advocacy would be the sole discretion of the Lake Lida LID Board of Directors.

The method of financing LID operations would be through annual property tax assessments.