2017 Presidents Letter

Greetings from your Potato Lake Association (PLA) Board,

I hope when you receive this PLA membership renewal letter that you are either enjoying the beautiful scenery of a snowy winter on Potato Lake or you’re relaxing on a tropical beach. Wherever you are we hope that you and your loved ones are well! We know that it won’t be long before the cabins are reopened and excitement of summer will be here again.

The purpose of this letter is to extend an invitation for you to join or renew your annual membership to your association, and to once again ask for your generous support for our watercraft inspection program.

In 2016, 135 of our residents became members of the association, which is a slight increase from previous years. This represents approximately 50% of our lakeshore residents. In trying to improve on that number, your board is continuing neighborhood groups, whose purpose is to improve communications about PLA activity and to encourage direct input from you about lake issues and the role of the PLA. The PLA has an introductory offer to all new members: COMPLIMENTARY DUES FOR THE FIRST YEAR OF MEMBERSHIP!! That’s a no obligation, no cost membership for 2017 for anyone who has not previously been a member! If you have never been a member, please take advantage of this opportunity to participate in our efforts to protect your lake.

Watercraft inspection is currently the most effective way to help restrict Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS), particularly zebra mussels, from entering our lake. In case you missed the December 8, 2016 news release, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has confirmed zebra mussels in their larval stage in two locations in Leech Lake in Cass County. The DNR has found no adult zebra mussels in the lake, but the locations and the numbers of zebra mussel larvae, called veligers, indicate that a reproducing population may be present. Please keep in mind that the purpose of our lake association is to protect and preserve our lake.

In 2016, there were 1300 hours of watercraft inspection provided through a combination of dollars from Potato Lake residents, Lake Emma Township and the State of Minnesota. The PLA Board has recommended keeping the hours for watercraft inspection the same for the 2017 boating season. While this state allocation of $13,240 and help from Lake Emma Township ($2000-$3000), will greatly help our monitoring of our launch sites, we still need lakeshore owners to contribute to this cause.

With the projected cost approaching $25,000, we, as lakeshore owners, need to augment those sources to protect our lake and property investment. As such, we are once again appealing to every lakeshore owner to contribute. If every property owner would contribute at least $50 to $100, we feel certain the funds will be available for this important watercraft inspection program.

Currently the PLA Board has two open positions. Last August the board terms of Kevin Brauer and Bob Berdahl expired. Both Kevin and Bob have put in many years and countless hours in building and maintaining a strong lake association. They will continue to be active members of the PLA, but felt that the PLA needed some new leadership. Please consider volunteering to serve on the board, and check out the membership application form for additional opportunities to get involved.

Membership in the PLA is on a calendar year basis and annual dues remain at just $25 per household. Please take a few moments to fill out the enclosed form and send it in with your dues today, or if you are first time member check the applicable box. In addition, please consider including your watercraft inspection donation. Thank you for your support of the Potato Lake Association and Potato Lake!


Tom Conzemius

Tom Conzemius, PLA President

2017 Social Calendar

Please save the dates below and look for email reminders from Jan Vold regarding any changes or social updates!

These events are scheduled so that Potato Lake residents may get to know their lake neighbors as friends! Please join us at any event! All are welcome.

May 20: Dinner at YSteak House 6:00 PM

June 7: Dinner at Zorbaz 6:00 PM

June 17: Coffee at LaPasta 9:00 AM

July 21: Ladies coffee at Summerhill Farm 9:00 AM

July 21:  Men’s lunch at Royal Bar 12:00 PM

August 5: Annual meeting at Potratz’s (Time to be determined)

August 19: Coffee 9:00 AM(Place to be determined)

September 9: Dinner at Necce’s 6:00 PM

October 7: Dinner at Vallarta’s 6:00 PM

December 2: Christmas party at Necce’s (Time to be determined)

Dates and places may change depending on availability of restaurants or other conflicting events. If anyone is interested in hosting a morning coffee or late afternoon cocktail party please let me know and I will add it to our calendar.

Contact Jan at potatolakemn@gmail.com.


Membership PLA Lead Director: Tom Conzemius

  • Continue to increase membership with a 2017 goal of 150. Focus on getting all new residents to be PLA members. (In 2016, our Lake Association had 136 members)
  • Continue the launch of the Neighborhood Captain’s Program. This program has been instrumental in increasing year over year participation and remains a key method in reaching our residents
  • Work toward being a more welcoming organization by engaging with new and inactive members for opportunities to participate in PLA programs
  • Identify new lakeshore owners and provide them with information about the Lake and the Association

Neighborhood Captain’s Program: PLA Lead Director: Mike Vold

  • Expand on our Neighborhood Captains Program to insure we visit with each lakeshore owner before the annual meeting
  • Deliver the hard copy of the Potato Laker within 30 days of publication to those lakeshore owners who do not receive one via USPS
  • Insure Neighborhood Captains have knowledge about PLA plans and objectives and can answer most questions from lakeshore owners
  • Work in conjunction with the membership committee to insure we reach our 2017 membership goal

Aquatic Invasive Species(AIS) Prevention Efforts PLA Lead Directors: Bob Berdahl, Dale Kunz, and Ken Grob

  • Complete 1250 hours of watercraft inspections per established plan and schedule
  • Secure funding from townships consistent with 2017 efforts
  • Conduct AIS early detection including vegetation, Zebra mussel veliger, and spiny waterflea monitoring
  • Complete the Rapid Response plans for the lake and build the needed PLA people support network
  • Work to have an organized AIS lake monitoring program with committed and trained monitors

Lake Management Plan PLA Lead Director: Ken Grob and Chuck Diessner

  • Form a committee of PLA directors and members to review the Lake Management Plan developed in 2006
  • If new information supersedes the content of the current plan, modify it as appropriate
  • Communicate contents of plan and results over the years at our annual meeting

PLA Charitable Fund PLA Lead Director: Chuck Diessner

  • Continue to support donations to the fund; both for AIS inspections and for the general fund
  • Recruit additional Fund members to insure we are at full staff
  • Develop a pre-approved AIS Rapid Response fund request in conjunction with the Northwest Minnesota Foundation
  • Improve the process for obtaining AIS watercraft inspection funding to assure annual funding in a timely manner each year

Communication PLA Lead Directors: Kolt Ringer and Tom Conzemius

  • Continue to provide timely information to our members via newsletter and through informal communication
  • Maximize the capability of the Neighborhood Captains program
  • Publish one hard copy, multi-colored Potato Laker annually
  • Insure our website has both timely and accurate information
  • Expand the use of social media

Fisheries PLA Lead Director: Kolt Ringer

  • Communicate with DNR staff so that we understand the fisheries plan for the lake
  • Insure fisheries plan is available to members via website and other communications
  • Sponsor a 2017 fishing contest similar to that in 2016 including communicating it to members prior to the commencement of the opening of the season.

Loon Program PLA Lead Director: Bob Berdahl coordinating with Jerry Olsen

  • Place loon nesting platforms in lake at ice out
  • Monitor loon activity including numbers, nesting sites and chicks
  • Complete annual DNR loon survey and communicate it to members via website and newsletters.

Land Use PLA Lead Director: Exec Committee coordinating with Chuck Diessner

  • Seek to protect the environs of the lake using best practices of land use management
  • Monitor various land use applications and make recommendations to the PLA board regarding input to applicable government groups
  • Proactively consult with resort owners considering a transition to a Planned Unit Development (PUD).
  • Seek out potential conservation opportunities including the purchase of property or conservation easements

Social PLA Lead Director: Organization and effort provided by Jan Vold

  • Plan and organize PLA social events
  • Encourage direct participation of PLA Directors
  • Encourage inactive or non-member participation
  • Publish and communicate via website, newsletters and email

Hubbard County Coalition of Lake Associations (COLA) PLA Lead Director: Ken Grob

  • Actively support the work of COLA
  • More effectively communicate the focus, programs and activities of COLA to PLA members.
  • Insure we have attendance at all COLA meetings.
  • Proactively communicate COLA information to the Water Quality Monitor (Rich Rothermel) and AIS Veliger Monitor (Dale Kunz)


images (2)

images (3)

Ever wonder about those weeds in front of your lake place, what they are and are they good or bad? We would like your help in keeping an eye on Potato Lake aquatic vegetation. We would like property owners to monitor their lake front a couple of times a summer and look for Eurasian Water Milfoil, Curly Leaf Pondweed, Hydrilla, Purple Loosestrife and Zebra Mussels. Not sure what to look for> Not a problem, we’ll train you on that. It’s easy once you know what to look for and fun to know what you are looking at. All you need to do is inspect you weedline 2 times a summer and tell me what you’ve found. Anyone can do it.

If you’d like to learn more please email me at mailto:dale.kunz@worldwide.com or call 612-239-5213.

Potato Lake Annual Meeting Notes – July 2014

The Potato Lake Association Annual meeting was called to order by President Brauer at 4:00PM. Kevin introduced the Board Members present: Kevin.Brauer, Ken Grob, Bob Berdahl, Sheila Hastings, and acknowledge board members who were not present: Dale Kunz, Brent Behrens, Dean Soltis, Pete Nyhus Tony Platz. He also introduced Jan Vold as the new social director and thanked Mary Ann Potraz and Jim Potraz for hosting the annual meeting.


  1. Kevin discussed the current membership of the Potato Lake Association. He reported that year to date the PLA has 110 members compared to 135 at this time last year. He noted a change was made to just electronically send the membership forms this year may have been one reason for the decline. Letters were mailed to try to increase membership early in the summer and these seem to get a better response rate. Kevin also reported the Potato Lake residents had raised $10,000 so for this year from donations which will be used to fund watercraft inspections.


  1. Water Craft Inspection and AIS: Bob Berdahl. reported on this item. He gave an overview of the number of the Hubbard County Lakes and Associations and stressed how important it is for all 22 Lake Associations to participate in helping to stop the spread of AIS. The county has budgeted for 8000hrs of inspections on 26 lakes. The Potato Lake budget for 2014 is $15,000 to cover 1000 hours of inspection. Monies include: $4,500 Grant from Lake Emma Twsp., $10,500 from donations from shore land owners on Potato Lake. Bob reported that the PLA Spent $1,000 on 2 counters to be located at both boat landings to get accurate data about the number of boats using each landing. He also reported that the state is going to provide $10,000,000 to help prevent AIS and Hubbard County is expected to receive $250,000 of those monies. So far, nothing has been found but Bob noted that 13% of the boats coming into Potato Lake are coming from infested waters with the majority coming from Iowa and North Dakota. He also noted how all the resorts on the lake are very supported and educating their guests about the threats of AIS.
  2. Neighborhood Captains: Ken Grob and Mike Vold introduced a program called Neighborhood captains as a way to provide better and more personalized means of communication to the lake shore owners. They shared an outline of the neighborhoods and a list of potential captains to implement the program.   They also asked for volunteers to cover assigned neighborhoods.


  1. Communications: Kolt Ringer was introduced to talk about using technology to better communicate with the PLA membership and property owners. He gave quick background of how the PLA is trying to use as many tools to effectively communicate. He noted that over the past year emailing has been the most effective tool, but that there are still a high percentage of emails that are not opened or going to the wrong email address’s. He asked the members to make sure that we have a correct address and shared some tips to make sure the PLA emails were not getting put into a SPAM folder by accident. He also noted that the PLA website has been moved to a new address: potatolakeassociation.wordpress.com and there is a PLA Facebook Page. These will also be used to post information in a more timely manner.


  1. Friends of Headwaters: Kevin Brauer shared with the attendees an update on the Enbridge Pipeline. The Friends of the Headwaters is a group that has been organized in the area to study the project and is asking the state to consider an alternate route for the proposed pipeline. Kevin noted that the PLA submitted a letter taking the position that state and company should consider one of the three other alternate routes for the project due to the potential environmental impact of the current proposed route through the lakes country.


  1. Leadership, terms of Board Members: Kevin Brauer discussed the current position of the PLA Board. He cast an election for the officers for the following terms:

2014-2017 – Shelia Hastings, Tony Platz, and Dale Knutz nominated

2016 Terms – Brent Berhens resigning – Cindy Rauhn who was not in attendance was nominated to fill this position. Kevin asked for a motion, and a vote was approved for Cindy to fill this board position.

2015 Term Pete Nyhus and Dean Soltis resigning, Mike Vold and Tom Conzimeus were nominated through a motion and and a verbal vote approved this motion.

Kolt Ringer was nominated and a verbal vote approved his position on the board for Sheila’s expired term.

John Hastings will be resigning as PLA’s COLA representative. He gave a brief description of the position and Kevin asked for volunteers from the attendees to fill this position. No one volunteered at the meeting.


  1. Walter Ringer JR. Memorial Award: Joe Ringer, Bob Berdahl, and Kevin Brauer all were invited to present the 2014 award. John and Shelia Hastings were recognized for all of their contributions to Potato Lake, COLA, and the PLA. They were presented with the award for 2014.


  1. Comments and Questions: Kevin Brauer opened the meeting for any questions or comments. There were none from the meeting attendees. Kevin did ask if the format of the meeting combined with a picnic was preferred vs. a meeting and a separate picnic.


The meeting was adjourned and a picnic followed the meeting.

Minutes submitted by Kolt Ringer

IMG_2870IMG_2871 IMG_2868 IMG_2864 IMG_2857

Potato Lake Watercraft Inspection Report – 2014 By Bob Berdahl

images inspector04_s

For the past three years, Potato Lake has supported an aggressive watercraft inspection program at our two public launch sites to prevent the spread of Aquatic Invasive Species into our lake.

 The Potato Lake program is part of a Hubbard County program that includes 26 lakes and 22 watercraft inspectors at an overall cost of $145,000.

 County wide, 11,500 inspections have been performed with 7,400 hours of inspection time thru mid August. Nearly 10% of the entering boats came from infested waters and 15% came from other states, many of which have high levels of AIS.

 As of mid August, Potato Lake has had 1237 inspections with 832 hours of inspection time. Of the nearly 731 boats entering our lake, 104, or about 14% came from infested waters and 17% arrived from out of state. Our 2014 program will cost $15,000 with nearly $10,000 coming from Potato Lake property owners and the remaining money coming from Lake Emma Township and the Potato Lake association.

 We are concerned about the many boats coming here from infested waters. Boats and watercraft that were previously used in infested waters need to be clean and dry for at least a week before launching. While we strongly discourage launching watercraft that have come directly from infested waters, we do have a decontamination service available on weekends and located adjacent to the Hubbard County landfill.

 While Potato Lake has an effective watercraft inspection program, we do not have the launch site coverage to check every boat that launches on our lake. We all need to take ownership of this by learning about AIS prevention and applying these practices when transporting our boats and other water related equipment.

Screen Shot 2014-09-24 at 9.59.46 AM


Annual Meeting – Photos



Thank you to Jim and Mary Ann Potraz for hosting the PLA Annual meeting on July 26!  The storms held off and it was a very nice afternoon on the point of Potato Lake.  Congratulations to Shelia and John Hastings who received the Walter Ringer Jr. Memorial Award in 2014.  Both Shelia and John are retiring from their positions and plan on doing some traveling.  John has served as our COLA rep for quite sometime and Shelia has been active on the PLA Board.  We all appreciate your contributions to help make Potato Lake one of the best lakes in the state!

IMG_2851 IMG_2857 IMG_2864 IMG_2868  IMG_2871