Sheldon Brown, Leading by Example
This story was written by Andrew in Minnesota about his father.
The background info on this story is that this lake in Minnesota has a small inlet and a much larger outlet. The outlet goes from the lake through a culvert under the road to a large marsh area that feeds into a few additional lakes. The marsh connected to the lake is full of carp, and the lake association put up a carp trap many years ago in order to keep them out. The only issue is that due to the flow of water and debris, the carp trap becomes dirty and clogs up quite often, which causes the water level of the whole lake to rise.
A few years ago, the water level significantly rose along with many others in Minnesota, and a no-wake zone was imposed on the whole lake for almost half of the summer. After quite a bit of drama, the lake association decided that rather than remove the carp trap, people would take turns removing the debris from the trap to keep the water level down. There has not been a no-wake zone on the lake ever since because volunteers clean the trap nearly every day, which has significantly cut the concern around water levels.
My father, Sheldon Brown, has been cleaning this trap almost every other day for years as a volunteer. It takes him ~30 minutes each time and is quite involved, so he has spent hundreds of hours keeping our lake usable for recreational boaters and saving the shore line. He is not paid for this service and doesn't receive any recognition, so when I saw this post, I mentioned it to him and he was happy to have his picture posted.
Here is a picture of a typical dirty carp trap. If you were able to look closely, you would see that nearly the entire trap is clogged. It is surprising how fast the current moves through here during this time of year when the water is much lower than other high-water months like June or July.
The trap is manually cleaned using the pitch fork / rake on all sides including under water as well as any debris floating in the trap.
After the trap has been cleaned, water is flowing freely again! This 1/2 hour cleaning process is done every day throughout the Spring / Summer / Fall seasons.
I encourage anyone interested in helping maintain their lake to go to their local Lake Association meetings and see if there is anything they can do to help out. It is surprising how much of a difference just a few people can make! Thanks.