This blog is designed to highlight the paddling opportunities within South Dakota, mainly within a 50-mile radius of Sioux Falls. While Sioux Falls is far from the adventure of coastal regions, there is a certain satisfaction in utilizing the available waterways to observe weather, water conditions, and the landscape along the shoreline. In addition, there is a wealth of animal life on the waters of small South Dakota lakes, rivers, and creeks, including geese, ducks, pelicans, great blue heron, egrets, hawks, owls, perching birds, deer, raccoons, and beaver. Eagles, fox, and coyote are also sometimes spotted.
The sites described are places where I have kayaked over the past few years, mostly in South Dakota but sometimes including locations in Iowa and Minnesota. One of the best sources of information on the accessibility of small lakes is the South Dakota Atlas and Gazetteer, the large map book of South Dakota. Lakes with a public access are generally identified by a boat symbol marking the location of a launching site on public land.
You will notice the menu of paddling locations on the right side of the blog. Each of the postings is linked to one of the areas, and my intention is to provide a continuing review of the places where I paddle. Perhaps these narratives will help readers select waterways of interest to them. Please feel free to offer a comment regarding any of my postings; I would welcome the dialog.
I also maintain a companion blog that describes hiking opportunities within the Sioux Falls area. You can access that blog at: http://hikingsiouxfalls.blogspot.com
Thursday, June 05, 2008
Grass Lake Water Monitoring Project
Monitoring Water Resources
The SDCA in association with Dakota Water Watch, a water resource monitoring program of the East Dakota Water Development District, will participate in a bacteria monitoring project at Grass Lake on July 12, 2008. This will be a single event carried out to establish a base line of water bacteria levels linked to fecal material and disease-causing organisms. This event will involve collecting samples from 20 points around the lake for analysis in a “mini-lab.”
SDCA volunteers will gather at 9:00 a.m. at the Grass Lake public access point and receive training in the collection process and be provided some basic background information on the project. The training will last an hour or so, and the SDCA participants will then set out in their boats to collect samples from assigned points around the lake. The training, collection, and preparation of the samples will be lead by Jeanne Fromm, project manager for Dakota Water Watch.
After training, the SDCA participants will set out and collect their water samples. There will be enough time for kayaks to take a circuit of the lake if desired before returning with the samples. A complete circuit of the lake takes about an hour, although it is possible to spend a couple of hours checking out the islands, shoreline, and bird life. The participants will have their samples back at the “put-in” site sometime around 11:00 a.m. Jeanne Fromm will collect the samples as the boats return, and the SDCA participants will be able to help prepare the samples for analysis. That process takes only five minutes or so. The lab preparation will be done as boats return, so it should be possible for participants to finish their lap around the lake, drop off the samples, and have their assignment completed between 11:00 and 11:30 a.m.
The SDCA is participating in this project as a public service. It is also a good opportunity for members to get a closer look at how water analysis is completed. So, this project ought to offer a nice morning on Grass Lake, a chance to network with other SDCA members, and provide a feeling of contribution to environmental management.
Grass Lake is a wonderful and secluded body of water in close proximity to Sioux Falls. There is a lot of bird life to observe, especially pelicans, great blue herons, geese, and ducks. Other wildlife is often seen along the shores, including muskrat, raccoon, and deer. From Sioux Falls, the lake is reached by going west on Highway 42 (12th Street) past the Wall Lake turnoff, on to 459th Street. At 459th Street, turn right and go north about 2.5 miles. The road enters into a curve around the east end of the lake after about two miles. On the left, there is a small white sign that identifies a gravel road leading into the public access area, located just a short distance along that entrance. The public access point is on the northeastern end of the lake. There is a “turn around” area and a very primitive launching point. No SD parks sticker is needed to use this site.
For this event, there are 20 samples to be collected, and there is activity for about 10 volunteers. We would like for people to “register” in advance so that we know that there will be enough, and that there will be an assignment for each boat. If you would like to participate on this 9:00 – 11:30 a.m. event on Saturday, July 12, please e-mail or call Jay Heath at firstname.lastname@example.org or 371-3622 by July 5. If there is any need to cancel the event, calls will be made to those registering.