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We've had unusually warm weather recently. This information was published in last winter's newsletter, and it bears repeating now. We believe we have seen blue-green algae on Deer Lake already this spring.

Last year Mirror Lake experienced what was identified as a short outbreak of toxic blue green algae in late July/early August. A family pet became sick and was rushed in and promptly diagnosed by a local vet with the effects. Sadly, there was no recourse but to euthanize the pet. The family requested that the DLWA spread the word to minimize the possibility of any further heartbreaking episodes from happening in the future.

The dog developed the symptoms within one day of arriving at the lake. After one day the dog was in a life-threatening situation. The dog appeared confused/drunk and was limping continuously. The dog became lethargic and diagnosed with massive amounts of white blood cells and clostridium in her stool. Liver enzymes were through the roof. The vet stated that her pancreas was shutting down and he couldn’t regulate her blood sugars, and right before the dog arrived at the vet she had a seizure.

Process of elimination, the vet felt the dog was exposed to toxic blue green algae. The owners have been coming up to this lake since 1970’s. Haven’t been aware of or ever seen it.

The owners were very concerned for others and their pets and have reached out to the DNR, the SWDC as well as to our Deer Lake Watershed Association.

They stated, we don’t want to see what happened to us happen to anyone else and definitely want to assure we are going about this the correct way to assure everyone is informed, aware and safe.

The toxic algae can appear within days during extremely hot weather, which we experienced in July and August last summer. The hot weather, in combination with heavy rain, which we also experienced can result in high water that pulls in nutrients or raises the level of phosphorus in the water. The heat and extra nutrients in the water are the two main ingredients and catalyst. The toxic algae can disappear as fast as it appeared. It’s best to keep the water, creeks and lakes always flowing.

If anyone believes their pet might be affected, bring them in immediately to a veterinarian. This article is meant to be a general information article only. Further questions or concerns should be directed to your veterinarian, DNR or SWCD personnel. You may also Contact the MPCA’s Water Quality Monitoring Line (651-757-2822) with questions about toxic blue-green algae. Their website also has a wealth of information.

The level of Deer Lake remained stable all summer due to minimal beaver activity and low rainfall until recently. The gauge at the creek on County Road #533 stayed between 4.3 and  4.5 all summer until the heavy rains came. The level now is 4.7 until the outflow has an opportunity to drain down the volume.  The spring time depth of water running over the steel plates at the dam was about 12" and through summer dropped down to 4" then as low as 1" to 1.5" during the dry spell.


All summer the lake level took care of itself, then in August the boat run volunteers discovered that beaver were building a dam on the rock dam.  The dam was removed by Mark Smith, Jeff Stimac, Dave Nurka, Skylar Jensen and Larry Blackmer a couple of  times, but the critters kept building the dam back up so we removed them.  A picture of the start to their beaver dam is attached. The rock dam has been clear now for a few weeks to a month.  If possible, it is best to go into winter freeze up with stable or normal water levels to minimize shoreline damage from high water and  ice expansion. 

The wild rice crop density increased and clogged the outflow creek even more so than last year. A picture of mud build-up along the edges from this year is attached. The picture shows wild rice in it's formation stage lying flat on the water at the end of June.  Again, we are concerned about the outlflow depth over the long haul!  Anyone curious about the outflow creek that and has a  desire to view the rock dam is welcome to hitch a ride for a guided tour of the creek and rock dam with one of 4 individuals, Mark Smith, Bill Cromell, Dan Gallagher or Rick Jensen.  It is a great 2.5 to 3 mile boat run in the marsh and wilderness!  The trip should be taken in the spring through June or last 1/2 of September for open water and an easy run.