DLIA and Conservancy Projects …

Over the last several years, the public landing has been renovated. The DLIA and the town of St. Croix Falls, supported by a grant from the DNR, shared the cost of repairs. Repairs were needed because a large drop-off at the end of the landing ramp caused by “power loading” boats onto trailers. The landing camp was excavated to a greater depth and extended to prevent the hole caused by power loading. The DLIA, in partnership with several organizations, installed a handicapped accessible floating dock.

Three major efforts of the DLIA in recent years have been the issue of clear cutting along power lines, the proposed location of an enlarged Highway 8 and the plan for a cement plant close to the lake. The clear cutting issue arose when Polk-Burnett Electric Co-Operative emphasized to its members the need for power line reliability. They believed that better reliability could be achieved by power line clear-cutting (Deer Lake, Spring 2001). This meant cutting all trees and brush for twenty feet on both sides of high voltage power lines all around the lake.

In many areas Deer Lake is surrounded by trees, so clear-cutting would result in widespread destruction of the natural environment. The alternative to clear-cutting was to have underground lines installed, which would have many benefits, such as: eliminating ugly overhead ones, preserving trees and probably improving electrical reliability. But residents would have to assume the costs.

The DLIA divided the lake into sections each headed by a member whose aim was to win approval for undergrounding the lines. Meetings were held, information distributed and support for the proposal grew dramatically. Clear-cutting had been scheduled to begin in Spring 2002, but by November 2001, in ten of eleven sections around the lake, members of the Deer Lake community raised funds necessary to bury the high voltage lines. Some community members contributed more than their share of the cost to insure the success of the project. Others who had overhead secondary lines leading to their houses also paid have those buried. It was an incredibly successful project, showing what positive results can be obtained when members of a community unite. Undergrounding saved trees, preserved the environment’s beauty and likely improved electrical services. This project may well serve as a model for other organizations in the state.