On the morning of Friday, Aug. 2, contractors set to work ridding the popular but rudely named beach located west of Wahkon of the bog that had crept up beside it. The issue of removing this bog has been a topic of debate for a couple weeks leading up to the removal, and at a special city council meeting held Monday, July 29, options for removal were discussed.
Maintenance supervisor Chris Weinreich explained that he had spoken with an aquatic weeds specialist, Audrey Kuchinski, with the DNR. He had said Kuchinski had expressed concerns about the bog removal disturbing bullrush growing in the waters surrounding the beach. “She doesn’t want the bullrush disturbed at all,” Weinreich said. While one option involved moving the bog westward and staking it down, Weinreich said the space between the shore and bullrush would be narrow, and the waters were too shallow to use a boat for the moving. He added that Kuchinski had initially not been in favor of moving and staking the bog, as it wouldn’t take root in the beach’s hard sandy soil.
While Kuchinski would like to see the bog removed, Weinreich continued, it would need to be placed 200 feet away from any other wetland, drainage or ditch. There was a piece of wetland nearby that shared common water with Mille Lacs, Weinreich said, and though he had proposed one this location to Kuchinski, she had not been for it.
“I think our only option is to remove it,” Mayor Sandy Reichel observed.
Weinreich said that Jim Staricha, of Northland Towing, was offering a reasonable price for the removal work, at $110 an hour for the work with a backhoe and $75 for the end dump. “I think that’s ridiculously cheap,” Weinreich said. He speculated that there could be around 15 loads and figured the cost would work out to around $3,000. One option Weinreich proposed for removal was disposal on the nearby property owned by Jeff Nelson. If the council chose this route, the disposal would also require contract work to breakdown and spread the bog around the property. The proposed price for this work was $140 an hour. On the day of removal, Weinreich verified that bog was being taken to Nelson’s property.
A permit from the DNR was required to carry out the bog removal. Roeschlein stated an application for such a permit had been submitted on Thursday, July 25. The permit itself was received by the city on Wednesday, July 30.
Council member Kim Tyson made motion to cap the expenses for all contract work, for both the bog’s removal and its flattening at Nelson’s property to $5,000. The proposal was approved by the council, allowing the operation on Friday morning to be carried out.