Saturday, January 15, 2022

Some Fun with Long Lake Clams! 2021

(An over-extrapolation of my beach sample.)
Jim Alseth, Long Lake - Park Rapids, MN

The Long Lake Association AIS representatives dropped by a few weeks ago to install a zebra mussel sampling device on my dock. In our conversation I said I should “do the math” on a sample of clams I took this spring as I raked a small swim lane at our newly placed dock and
posted earlier on the “Long Lake Leisure” FB site. This was May 15th, before the lush grass bed forms, and it was just a matter of removing the sticks that are annoying under foot.

While this year appeared to be a good one for lake clams, I recalled that when the “banded snails” moved in about a decade to 15 years ago, I believed there was a big drop in the number of clams. Encouragingly I have seen underwater sand tracks of clams regularly at our beach this year.

This is entirely anecdotal, but as a teen (I’m 60 now), I used to think nothing of scooping up a clam, cracking it open, and “hand feeding” sunnies as I put my arm in the water from the dock. They would congregate once they heard me crack it open underwater and pick away at
the meat as I held the shell in my hand. I no longer use a clam up like this. I never before found a banded snail in the sand that had a live mussel and their shell does not lend to cracking it open, so I never got to see if a banded snail was of interest to the fish.
  • Note: This behavior is probably illegal now. The DNR’s site on clams(aka) freshwater mussels ( states that 28 of the state's 50 species are now listed as either extirpated, endangered, threatened, or of special concern.
  • Most of the data on clams is focused on river populations, as these filtering animals probably thrive in water that is naturally moving by. In this manner, one would expect most of our clams to live in shallow lake water where wave action could provide the same benefit.
  • I found out there is a Minnesota State Wide Mussel Survey associated with the information above, and if they have such data on Long Lake, it costs a minimum of $90, filling out a four-page form, and submitting a graphic in specified format of the area of concern. It’s called the DNR's Natural Heritage Information System (NHIS). So, I’ll live with my numbers for now, or maybe there’s a way I can assist science in the future.
  • I “discovered” a couple of live mature banded snails (4 to 5 turns on the shell) as I raked, thinking they might have been small clams. So, I believe they live their lives in the weed bed, die once mature, and their shells wash up on the shore -- all the while competing with the clams for resources.
  • Another discovery was the egg mass I found on one of the large clams. (See the photo above.) Since the algae-covered portion of the clam is affected, it looks like something took it for a semi-permanent object on which to lay its eggs.

So here is my effort, utilizing the faded 1941 CCC survey map above, a tape measure, and the little data I have from a 15’ wide (sandy shoreline) by 30’ long (underwater length) area.  Like the paneling behind it, the map has been on that wall since the 1970’s. We really should colorize  the topographic lines on it, or something! Consider this as exhibit 1 of my wife’s contention our lake home exists as the “Alseth Museum.” This is highly contested, but too many artifacts exist for an outright denial of the hypothesis.

The stamp above left appears to lend some gravitas to my effort, being the map is “designed to provide basic information for scientific fish and game management when used with biological, physical and chemical survey data” there!

The legend above right notes that the survey by CCC camp S-144 includes bottom types, so I proceeded to measure the lineal length of “sand” at the shoreline around the lake. I came up with 86.5”. The scale is 500’ to an inch, which works out to a little over 8 miles of sand shoreline around the lake (43,250’). Our factor to multiply each clam by is then:
  • 43,250 divided by 15 = 2883.33 (Sand shoreline/shoreline length of “sample”)
I found:  * Sample Long Lake population
  • 2 large (>4”) 5,766
  • 7 medium (2”-4”) 20,183
  • 18 small (<2”) 51,900
  • TOTAL 77,849
  • So, this could be approximately how many clams live in sand within 30’ of the shore of our lake in 2021.
  • With only 2 live mature banded snails found, that gives them a paltry 5766 individuals, but I suspect that I missed any smaller examples and they may be teeming throughout the underlying stick layer of the lake.
  • I look forward to learning more about clams as “indicator species”.
  • Primary predators of freshwater mussels are muskrats, otters, raccoon, geese, ducks, flatworms (on juvenile mussels), fish, and humans.
  • Their life cycle includes the attachment of larvae to freshwater fish gills, and eventually getting free somewhere else to live. One species even “baits” largemouth bass with a fake “minnow” to get them to chomp on the larvae sack that then coats their
  • So check out: 
I’ll probably keep this going and see how we do in future years!

Friday, December 17, 2021

Long Lake Loon Monitoring from Your Dock Anyone? Sharon Natzel

When you are at the lake, do you take time to enjoy watching and listening for the loons from your dock with your favorite beverage in the morning, noon or night?

Have you used binoculars to view the MN State Bird, the Common Loon, from your dock in your bay on Long Lake? Does this short recording of Loons call out to you to consider being part of our Long Lake loon input team?

Recording of Loons on Big Mantrap, courtesy of KARE 11 at:

We invite you to consider providing input on Long Lake’s Common Loons to the LLAA Planning Team working on the Long Lake Loon Management Plan. We have specific areas of focus where we could use your input to reduce mortality, increase reproductive success, and promote stewardship.
Dive in – email LLAA loon liaison:

The Long Lake Loon Management Plan is one of the several goals that our LLAA needs to achieve in the journey to be part of the MN Loon Friendly Lake Registry before the MN DNR Loon Restoration Program (MLRP) is completed by the end of 2023.

On Nov 3, 2021, members of the LLAA Planning Team learned more about MLRP in a Zoom meeting with that DNR program’s coordinator, Rob Rabasco. You may recall that in April 2010 one of British Petroleum’s Deepwater Horizon drilling rigs in the Gulf of Mexico exploded, causing a catastrophic oil spill that killed great numbers of wintering loons and other wildlife. In 2016 BP agreed to pay $8.1 billion for the oil spill damage over 15 years. The state of Minnesota was awarded $7,520,00 under two grants by the Deepwater Horizon Open Ocean Trustee Technical Implementation Group (TIG) to reduce mortality and increase reproductive success of common loons in Minnesota.  MLRP is supported from this money.

 MLRP Goals:

• To reduce mortality and increase reproductive success of common loons in Minnesota.
• To increase loon productivity by about 5% on registered lakes.

Restoration Activities Include:

• Permanent protection of targeted lake shorelines facilitating direct protection      of loons and ensuring future availability of habitat.
• Augmenting natural nesting habitat with Artificial Nesting Platforms (ANP).
• Promoting stewardship of lakes with loons by encouraging lake associations
   within an eight-county area to register as Loon-Friendly Lakes: Hubbard,
   Becker, Clearwater, Beltrami, Cass, Crow Wing, Aitkin, and Itasca.
• Promoting a Loon-Friendly Lake Registry (LFLR) program for lake associations
   within the Restoration of Common

Loons in Minnesota Project (RCLMP) area:

  • Establishing a Loon Liaison Training lake association members as volunteers to assist with loon monitoring 
  • Integrating loon conservation information into lake association management plans, newsletters, websites,and as agenda items in meetings 
  • Providing loon conservation information at key lake accesses 
  • Inviting Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) staff to speak about the Get the Lead Out (GTLO) program at lake association meetings. The Get the Lead Out program addresses the serious problem of loons being poisoned when they accidentally swallow lead tackle. 

The Minnesota DNR is urging lake associations to encourage their members to dispose of lead tackle at household hazardous waste sites and to host a lead tackle drop-off event. To support these goals the LLAA will have a lead tackle drop-off table at its Annual Meeting at the Hubbard Community Center on Sat June 25, 2022. After the meeting, the lead tackle collected will be weighed by the LLAA Loon Liaison and taken to the Hubbard County South Transfer Station for Household Hazardous Waste Disposal.

In addition, LLAA will encourage members to "Get the Lead Out" by checking their ice fishing  and summer tackle boxes, give lead-free tackle as gifts, and inculcate good practices in future generations by providing children and grandchildren with lead-free tackle. It is partly by encouraging such lake stewardship that the LLAA Planning Team hopes to earn Long Lake a place on the MN Loon Friendly Lake Registry.

LLAA has invited a special guest speaker for our LLAA Annual Meeting on Saturday morning, June 25, 2022. Steve Maanum, wildlife photographer and master storyteller, will share his loon experiences and fantastic loon photography.  Steve volunteers as part of the Big Mantrap loon team, checking the success rates of natural nests and artificial nesting platforms. You will come away with an even greater understanding of just how special the loons are and some unique behaviors too!

Wednesday, November 24, 2021

President’s message: October 24, 2021


( I wrote this a month ago for the's picture is very different. Some snow on the ground and a temperature of 29 degrees..but not ice on the lake yet)   Hope everyone enjoys their Thanksgiving.

The Fall colors have come and gone. The temperature has turned cooler but the sunshine is strong, making the lake and sky very blue. Even though so many people have left for the winter, this is still a beautiful time to live on Long Lake.

With things slowing down, I had time to look at our history page for Long Lake. I have said many times that we should take time to read the abstracts/titles that we have on our lake property. I got mine out of the safe deposit box at the bank. The oldest date on my property here on Chippewa Loop was 1885. I read several notices about the county commissioners visiting lot sites to help assess the potential damages to lake lots because of the dam proposed by Joe Delaney, Joseph Replogle and W.S. Steele to be built at Hubbard. The next date was December 13, 1911, when James H. Burdick homesteaded this section. Then parts of the section went back and forth between several people: The Burdicks, Edith Vanderpool, Dolly & Sophia Story and N.B Donovan and eventually the Recreation Sites & Farm Company (a Minnesota corporation). Finally on March 15, 1930, the land was registered to my grandfather, H.J. White. The language in the old abstract is difficult to read, but it is certainly fun to see some of the old names. Find out what your abstract says before we lose these historical memories.

Anyway please enjoy the newsletter, enjoy your winter adventures and keep in touch on Facebook or the website. (Remember you can always email or call anyone on the board with questions, comments, and concerns)

Carolynne (CC) White

Tuesday, July 6, 2021

7/4/2021 Flotilla Pictures

The weather cooperated and 20 to 30 families turned out in their decorated boats to celebrate the 4th of July. Thank you to all the families that participated this year.

Below is a link to a slide show of all the pictures we gathered. Thank you to Barb Roberts, CC White and Sharon Natzel for taking pictures.

Link to 2021 Flotilla Slides

Tuesday, June 29, 2021

Summary of Annual Meeting 6/26/2021

This summary page includes: 

1. Keith Manlove's presentation: video and pdf of slides.

2. Video of second part of the business meeting which has the reports and announcements.

3. The Board of Directors' election results for neighborhoods 2, 4, and 6.

4. The Officers for the Association 2021 Board. 

5. Winners of the drawings for "door" prizes and Ice Out drawing.

Here is the YouTube link to Keith's presentation:  Keith Manlove's Presentation

Here is the link to pdf of Keith's slides:

Here is the link to the Business  and announcements section of the Annual Meeting:
Annual Meeting Part II


Current Board of Directors 2021-2022.

(To see bios of our directors: See Board Members page/tab )

At Large:  Pam Petersen and Sam Oliver
Neighborhood 1:  Fred Rickers and Alternate James Alseth
Neighborhood 2:  Keith Manlove and Alternate Robert Nelson
Neighborhood 3:  Jaimie Beretta and Alternate Sharon Natzel
Neighborhood 4:  Mary Leadbetter and Alternate Cheryl Scholz
Neighborhood 5:  Kari Christen Richards and Alternate Carolynne C. White
Neighborhood 6:  Jim Seifert and Alternate Dawn Hammerschmidt

The follow were elected by the board members to be Officers for 2021-22


Winners of Door Prizes and Ice Out:

The three contestants, Katy, Mae, & Nancy, of the "So You Want To Protect The Lake" game and game show host, Keith, are being mailed $25 "Thank You" Gifts for "Gardening Lake Friendly" shore-land improvements.

The two $25 Door Prize Gifts were drawn at the end of the meeting and are being mailed to Kari Christen Richards and Cheryl Scholz.

The quilt for "Ice Out Guesses" from Monika Wilkins goes to the drawing winner Mark Stenzel.  Mark is to pick up the prize quilt "Gardening Lake Friendly" at Monika's Quilt Shop in Park Rapids. 

Ice Out was April 7th this year.  No one guessed the exact date but Michael Stenzel (4/5) and Kari Richards (4/10) were close.