Shoring up support for Blue Lake:
Isanti SWCD targets water quality

Townships, lake improvement district, property owners are on board, too, with Clean Water Fund-backed plans to curb phosphorus and sediment

With a $251,000 Clean Water Fund grant from the Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources, Isanti Soil & Water Conservation District staff is working to preserve Blue Lake’s water quality. The Blue Lake Improvement District has been an important partner, as have the townships. At the Stanford Township park on Blue Lake, a rain garden filters runoff. The hillside was stabilized, eliminating a gully that carried sediment into the lake. The fishing pier was a separate township project not funded by the grant. Photo Credits: Ann Wessel, BWSR
Isanti SWCD Manager Tiffany Determan stood on permeable steps during a late-August site visit to a Stanford Township park and water access on Blue Lake. The steps replaced a dirt path to the lake from the parking lot.
“That hillside was significantly eroding,” Isanti SWCD conservation technician Todd Kulaf said during a late-August site visit to a Blue Lake in the southwest corner of the county. A stabilization project not only addressed water quality concerns but also augmented community space at Stanford Township’s park and adjacent Minnesota Department of Natural Resources boat access.
Bob Nelson of Andover caught panfish in late August off the Blue Lake fishing pier at a Stanford Township park. “It’s close by and I like the lake,” Nelson said.
Marvin Paulson reflected on the changes he hopes to see on his Blue Lake property 10 years from now: “We’ll have wonderful plantings that will have grown. It’ll take less time to mow the yard. … And the quality of the water should improve.”
Marvin Paulson had been visiting his parents’ cabin on Blue Lake since 1960. He and his wife, Mary, bought the adjacent lot and in 2003 moved into the house they built on the property. Isanti SWCD staff and township officials said Blue Lake is seeing increasing development pressure from the northern Twin Cities suburbs.
Monitoring results fluctuate from year to year. Blue Lake has been on the borderline of meeting the state water quality standard for the past few years, but trending toward a decline in water quality.

Blue Lake Project Details

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Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources

Our mission is to improve and protect Minnesota’s water and soil resources by working in partnership with local organizations and private landowners.