By Dan Reed
Moose Lake Star-Gazette 

High E. coli found in area streams


“High E. coli populations (over 1,260 colony forming units) have been found with testing in the Blackhoof River, Skunk Creek, Net River (downstream from the Holyoke Park), Nemadji River and Kettle River,” reported the Manager of the Carlton County Soil & Water Conservation District Brad Matlack at the Regular Carlton County Board Meeting on May 8.

Matlock went on to explain, “Excessive E. coli can be a health hazard for humans using those waters for aquatic recreation. Untreated human waste from failing septic systems and livestock access to streams can be a cause. Beaver activity, goose and duck populations, and excessive grazing to water courses can also impact our rivers and lakes. We will work with several agencies to see what can be done.”

Carlton County has three remote rivers, six forested rivers, and 108 tributary streams. Of these, 24 are designated DNR trout streams. Carlton County has four basic watersheds: the Kettle River Watershed, the Nemadji River Watershed, the St. Louis River Watershed and the Upper Mississippi River Watershed.

In good news, compliance of the New Buffer Law of 2015 has been the talk of farmers throughout the state. A buffer is an area of perennial vegetation which, among other things, aids in filtering runoff before it reaches water courses or water bodies. A buffer can usually be a width of 50 feet but may be a minimum of 30 feet.

Agriculture in Carlton County does have some dairy and vegetable farming. The bulk is beef-based production. After a review of parcels throughout Carlton County, it was determined that Carlton County is the first agricultural county in Minnesota to be 100 percent compliant with the law and regulations.

The results of the Carlton County Land Department Timber Auction on May 4 were lackluster in comparison to earlier years’ sales. Land Commissioner Greg Bernu commented, “We did not get an average of 40 percent above our appraisals.Why? Market conditions play a role. After two very warm winters we had a high harvest of timber this last winter. There is a lot of stockpiled wood throughout the area. We will continue to set our harvesting program as we have done for many years and see if this trend continues.”

Only two local loggers bought sales with SAPPI Paper Company buying another three.

Cabin hunting leases on County Tax-Forfeited land were raised from $300 to $325. The Land Department ordered and paid for 8 building demolitions on tax-forfeit land at a cost of $30,000+.

Todd Lawrence of the city of Kettle River Planning Commission requested permission for the purchase of tax-forfeit lots in Kettle River of the gas station lot on the south side of town, the remaining parcel from the Kettle River School site, and a small house lot just north of the old school land. No price has been determined. Bernu stated he was unable to sell these lots at the appraisal price up to this point. It is hoped these lots will be available for new development. The county board voted to proceed.

County Coordinator Dennis Genereau asked for a joint meeting between the finance committee and the county board. The finance committee wishes to have county board direction on the budget for 2019. A joint meeting will be May 29 at 2:30 p.m. with the Adjourned County Board Meeting to follow at 4 p.m.


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