October 17, 2019
Q.: Chris from the North Shore asks: I’m hearing rumors that the Conservancy plans to “clear cut” Kasota Island. Is it true?
A.: Bridget: Of course not! But I’m really glad that you passed along what you are hearing in the community so that I can update everyone on the Kasota Landscaping Plan we just adopted. We adopted it after discussions with community members, the Lands Committee and the Conservancy Board.
Kasota Island Nature Preserve has been owned by the Conservancy since 2008. We understand its place in the affection of many, many people who live, visit and recreate at Clear Lake. We take very seriously our mission to see that it is “protected forever” for future generations.
This is a short update on our shoreline restoration and stewardship activities completed and planned for the Kasota Island Nature Preserve.
- The Kasota Shoreline Restoration Project is completed! We expect this multi-year project to slow down the 3-4 inches of annual shore erosion we’ve seen in recent years.
- It’s now time to address overall landscaping of the Island which was mostly deferred during the shoreline work. Money has been donated and set aside for landscaping.
- Many community members gave input into the Landscape plan.
- When the plan is completed over two growing seasons (2020-2021), Kasota Island will look more cared for and maintained.
- Dead and dying trees will be removed and trimmed—a safety issue. Many of them are sassafras trees that are currently strangling the middle section of Kasota. Some tree trimming, especially the highest dead branches, will take place over the winter when heavy equipment can cross the frozen Lake.
- The aggressive sassafras groves and understory brush will be thinned to let other native trees grow. They are shading out the baby oak trees.
- About 60 new native trees and shrubs will be planted.
- Small trees from the north and south ends will be relocated to drier areas where they will have a better chance at surviving. Some tree species do not like 'wet feet'.
- Additional native plants and grasses will be added on the north and south ends of the Island which are heavily used for recreation.
- Existing memorial beds and trees will remain. Memorial cash donations for landscaping are always welcome but all Kasota plantings are unmarked.
- Volunteer Work Days welcome community participation and help lower landscaping costs. Mark your calendars for June 13, 2020 at 9am!
You can find regular updates on Conservancy projects, including Kasota Island Nature Preserve, on the website. Preserving our beautiful natural environment and ensuring clear, clean water are two of the Conservancy’s ultimate goals. It’s often a complex effort. Thanks for your interest in preserving Kasota Island because it is a community-wide effort.
This periodic short column allows Conservancy Executive Director Bridget Harrison to give all of us the same answer at the same time. If you have or hear such questions or concerns, let Bridget know by email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone call, (260) 527-1072. Also, help us by spreading the word about this source of reliable and timely information about community and environmental questions in the Clear Lake Watershed.