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Paynesville Press - June 18, 2003

Floating bogs removed from Big Lake

By Bonnie Jo Hanson

Bogs - masses of floating vegetation comprised mostly of reeds that line much of Big Lake's shoreline - are normally beneficial. Besides providing shelter to aquatic animals - including fish, ducks, and loons - bogs act like sponges, absorbing excess nutrients from the water, helping the water quality.

pushing bog But when they break loose and get pushed around by the wind, bogs can be a big nuisance, damaging shorelines, docks, and boats..

It's a shame when they have to be removed, said Big Lake resident Roger Johnston. But once a large bog breaks loose and begins to move, propelled either by wind or by rough water, stopping it is like stopping a freight train, he added. .

Small bogs often float in lakes, but last year a large bog - nearly an acre in size - broke off and started to damage fish spawning beds as well as some boats and docks on Big Lake. The bog pushed one dock to the middle of the lake, where it had to be recovered, said Dave Mutschel-knaus, president of the Big Lake Aquatic Association..

Planning to remove it took nearly a year, said Mutschelknaus. The association had to get permits for the bog's removal and disposal from the DNR, for closing a public landing, and for using gambling money to cover the estimated $10,000 cost of the project..

crane removing bog The removal of the bogs - one large bog and several smaller ones - began last week and was supposed to be finished within a few days, said Mutschelknaus.Volunteers planned to push the bogs to a public landing on the south side of the lake where the bog could be scooped out by a backhoe..

Unfortunately, the largest bog got stuck and volunteers were unable to push it back to the landing. Instead, they had to use chainsaws to cut the bog into moveable chunks. Now, Mutschelknaus figures the project will take at least a week. .

The last time bogs were removed from Big Lake was in 1996 when 200 dump truck loads were taken from the lake. Based on that project and the amount of bog already removed, Mutschelknaus estimated this bog will yield at least 500 dump truck loads of vegetation..

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