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Membership News:

To make things easier to remember, and effective beginning in 2020, the GJGLA Board has decided to move to an April 30th dues expiration date. What that means is this: all dues will be good for one year (April 30-April 30, unless you're a Lifetime Member). If you've typically been renewing around the time of the spring meeting, now we'll ask you for your dues a month earlier. Conversely, if you're someone who's been paying your dues other times in the year, your new due date will be different (and consistent from year to year). If you're not due now but send your annual renewal anyway (see rate options below), it's good until *April 30, 2021*!

Also new this year: you now have the option to buy a Lifetime Membership at a one-time cost of $500! Lifetime dues never expire. The other resident member options are also still on offer, renewed annually, and include $25 (Regular), $50 (Guarantor), or $100 (Benefactor).

Your membership buys continued efforts and stewardship on behalf of the Jefferson-German chain of lakes and its watershed, improving lakes water quality, education, collaborative efforts with area agencies, and ongoing communication and information-sharing.

As always, dues payments can be made via credit card here on the website (use the membership application tab), or by sending your check to P.O. Box 286, Cleveland MN 56017.

Silent Auction THANKS!

The GJGLA sends our sincere THANK YOUs to donators, bidders, volunteers, members, cash contributors, and everyone who helped to raise additional funds for the GJGLA and our efforts toward the Phosphorous Reduction Projects around our chain of lakes! Please see more specifically who to thank (or which businesses to consider patronizing) here.

News & Save the Dates:

1. GJGLA Fall Educational Meeting: Saturday, Sept. 14, 2019, 10:00-Noon at the German  Lake Lutheran Church. See agenda/topics here.

2. Minutes from the Annual Meeting: Available now, see link in right side bar -->

3. Silent Auction fundraiser! To complete our promise of $12,000.00 for the county phosphorus reduction project, we're having a silent auction! Check out the flyer below, and auction item details here!

Off-shore AIS treatments news:

Off-shore treatments for curly-leaf pondweed have been completed on portions of West, Middle, and East Jefferson. If you pledged to contribute to these treatments and have not yet sent your check to Lee, please do so at your earliest convenience. Make checks payable to the GJGLA and send to: Lee Plonske, 26400 Sioux Trail, Madison Lake, MN 56063. If you have any questions, email Lee: gjglaspraying@gmail.com  

Image result for save the date image

2019 GJGLA Annual Member Meeting

Where: Marysburg Church Hall

When: Saturday, May 25, 2019

Time: 10:00 a.m. - Noon

Added attendance incentive this year: Door Prizes! Watch this site for updates on agenda items and mark your calendars, we'll plan to see you there!

2019 Weed Spraying Updates! 

(As of April 3, 2019)

The GJGLA spraying program for 2019 on your lakes is starting now!

There are two spraying options:  Shoreline treatment and Offshore treatment. The Shoreline treatment concentrates around the dock area, and the Offshore treatment creates a path starting 100 feet offshore and that spans a width of 50 feet.  For more details and explanation, see the Shoreline vs Offshore Treatment document here.

If you are interested in supporting offshore spraying on your lake, a commitment to participate is all that is required today. To participate, send an email to gjglaspraying@gmail.com. We will then contact you with the specifics. 

German Lake property owners: Our goal is to add your lake for offshore spraying this year. If you have an interest, please email the above address. We are looking for a volunteer to assist Lee with the German Lake spraying oversight, if you can help, please let Lee know by contacting him at the above email address. Swedes Bay Lake property owners: only two people indicated interest in offshore spraying on Swedes Bay this year, but you can still consider personal (shoreline) options, see next paragraph. 

If you are a new shoreline treatment customer, and want to buy individual lake treatments for near your shore or dock areas for the first time in 2019please use this form here.  If you are a returning shoreline (dock) treatments customer, and have had this service provided in the past, please use this form here.  

2019 Shoreland Restoration Cost-Share Opportunity:

2019 Lake Spraying

A new year, a new season of Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) lake treatments! Your support last season is a testament to the importance of weed control in your areas. We look forward to working with you again this year, and invite you to encourage your neighbors to participate, as well. 

To accommodate you, we are starting now to ensure we have everyone who has an interest in controlling curly leaf pondweed and Eurasian milfoil signed up. To do so, or for any questions, contact Lee Plonske: gjglaspraying@gmail.com or 507.995.5281. 

Thank you!

'Tis a season of giving thanks, and we at the GJGLA have *you* to be grateful for! We also thank all our wonderful sponsors for Summer Splash '18, which raised so much of the money we gave toward the county's Phosphorous Reduction Project! Hope to see you again for Summer Splash '19! 

We enjoyed a terrific

Fall Educational Meeting

thanks to all of you! 

As promised, here are the slides or images we have from the day's meeting:

Master slides (courtesy of Same Gore; these are great for contact information on all our presenters)

Phosphorous Reduction Project (courtesy of Mike Schultz)

Fish in this chain of lakes (courtesy of Sky Wigen)

For slides from Paul & Katie Kaari (who spoke about the various lake weeds and ways to respond to them), please visit their website.

The 2018 GJGLA Fall Educational Meeting is TOMORROW! We welcome you to this annual event, bring a neighbor, too! Details include:

When: Saturday, Nov. 17, 10 a.m. - Noon

Where: St. Paul's Lutheran Church on German Lake (22693 German Lake Rd, Le Center, MN 56057)

Speakers and Topics:

  • Le Sueur County Commissioner Steve Rohlfing - bridge repairs
  • Representative from DNR Fisheries - survey of fish in this chain of lakes
  • Representative from Le Sueur Sheriff's Dept. - water patrol information
  • Soil and Water Director Mike Schultz - phosphorus reduction project
  • DNR Representative Allison Gamble - invasive species/weed control
  • And many more! We look forward to seeing you there!

Le Sueur County and High Speed Internet:

There's a broadband initiative under way, and Le Sueur County is collecting resident input! Please let them know what you think by answering their survey here!

UPDATED: Docks-in date for area lakes: beginning October 15, 2018 (So if you use the docks when pulling your boats, do that *this weekend*)

Updated dates confirmed via a call on 10/11/18 from Pat Hoffman, another Parks & Trails person who wants to get the word out about the change! Docks all expected to be in the week of Oct. 15-19. Call Pat with any questions: 507-267-4772.

Save the Date!

What: GJGLA Fall Educational Meeting

When: 10:00 a.m., Saturday, November 17, 2018

Where: St. Paul's Lutheran Church, German Lake (22693 German Lake Rd, Le Center, MN 56057)

Come back soon for details, a list of confirmed presenters, and more!


The Greater Jefferson-German Lakes Association has committed $12,000 of the $100,000 match required of stakeholders for the projects.  The German-Jefferson Sportsmen Club has recently contributed $1,000 towards our goal as a concerted effort by both organizations to improve the water quality within the Jefferson-German chain of Lakes. We want to thank them for their support. The remaining match dollars will come from the landowners, developers and other involved parties.

LeSueur County Soil and Water District has received a $400,000 grant from the State of Minnesota for Phosphorous Reduction projects around the Jefferson German Lakes chain. These projects will have measurable improvements in water quality. 

To see the details of the project, go to the following link - http://jgla.camp7.org/resources/Presenntations/November_2017_JGLA_Fall_Mtg.pptx

The Greater Jefferson-German Lakes Association has committed $12,000 of the $100,000 match required of stakeholders for the projects. The remaining match dollars will come from the landowners, developers and other involved parties.

The Greater Jefferson-German Lakes Association is hosting a fundraiser called “Summer Splash” on June 9, at Beaver Dam Resort. The proceeds from the events that day will go towards the Association’s $12,000 commitment to the match.

Your help in this effort, through the purchase of a ticket for the band/dinner, raffle tickets or participation in any of our events will help us all reach this goal, and the bigger goal of projects that will clean our lakes.


The mission and purpose of the Association is to improve and preserve water quality of the Jefferson-German Chain of Lakes, and advocate clean water for current and future generations.

Our strategies for 2019-2020:

  • Ongoing Aquative Invasive Species (AIS) controls and protection
  • Reduce nutrient run-off from all sources
  • Collaborate with agencies, organizations, programs, and local/state policy makers towards lakes preservation and clean water advocacy
  • Share information and regular communication with members

Members,  Login to see these items:

  • A private membership directory
  • A form to update your information
  • Flyover information
  • Lake report
  • Newsletters

Water Patrol


Problem on the lake?  Contact:

AJ Sowieja, Deputy and Water Patrol

Le Sueur County Sheriff's Office

88 South Park Avenue

Le Center MN  56057

Land Line 507-357-4440

FAX           507-357-4627




If you would like to receive our newsletter, however are not member yet, please send us an email at info@jgla.org and we will put you on our mailing list. We send out newsletters, 2-3 times a year. Newletters cna also be downloaded from our Newsletter page here: http://jgla.camp7.org/membership

News and Articles

"Perfect" lawns are not perfect for your lake - try natural landscaping.

"Perfect" smooth green lawns require frequent mowing, watering, fertilizers and pesticides. When it rains, fertilizers and pesticides can run off into your lake and harm its quality. Consider decreasing the size of your lakeside lawn by planting native grasses, wildflowers, trees, and shrubs to provide lakeshore wildlife habitat, stabilize shorelines, and reduce the need for irrigation, pesticides and fertilizers. Learn more about natural landscaping at the Homeowners - GreenScaping: The Easy Way to a Greener, Healthier Yard web site

Lighten up on lawn chemicals, for your lake's sake.

Fertilizers, pesticides and weed killers we apply on our lawns can wash into our lakes when it rains. Nutrients in fertilizers can lead to algae blooms and lower oxygen levels for fish and other aquatic animals; pesticides and weed killers can be toxic to people, pets, beneficial insects, fish and wildlife. Protect your lake by minimizing or eliminating use of fertilizers and other yard chemicals. Learn more about environmentally beneficial landscaping at GreenScapes: Environmentally Beneficial Landscaping - Save Time and Money and Have a Greener, Healthier Yard! (PDF) (29 pp, 1.6MB) and Six Easy Steps to a Safe and Healty Lawn for Kids and Pets Web site

Natural lakeshores are picture perfect.

Studies show that most of us come to lakes simply to enjoy their natural beauty. Natural lakeshores are beautiful; they also contribute to improved water quality, which can help increase the value of lakefront property. Keep your lake "picture perfect" by protecting its natural shoreline. Learn more about the economic value of high quality lakes at the Bureau of Land & Water Quality Web site

Get involved! Protect your lake's natural shoreline.

Begin by being an example to others and ensure that your lakeshore property is as lake friendly as it can be. Educate your neighbors and friends about natural landscaping, native plants, living shorelines, and the importance of lakeshore buffers in protecting the quality of your lake. Get involved with your local lake association or visit the EPA's Adopt Your Watershed Web site to find a volunteer group near you that is involved in protecting lakes and their watersheds.


Doing some work near your shoreline:

Since 1989 the lake level has varied by over 6 vertical feet!

West Jefferson has been 4 feet lower and almost 3 feet higher!!

Lake name: German

Highest recorded: 1019.86 ft (06/25/1993)
Lowest recorded: 1013.66 ft (11/16/1989)           
Recorded range: 6.2 ft
Runout elevation: 1017.20


West Jefferson

Highest recorded: 1019.82 ft (06/24/1993)
Lowest recorded: 1012.9 ft (06/10/1990)
Recorded range: 6.92 ft
Last reading: 1017.1 ft (11/27/2011

Lake water level report.docx

Comments, questions, opinions and concerns expressed before during and after the February 10, 2015 Informational Meeting:

We need to what is best for the people around the lakes now and for future generations.  We can’t go into infinity with individual systems.

If we do sewer, aren’t Cleveland and Mankato also options.  Wenck response:  Those were considered, but Cleveland doesn’t have the capacity and the cost to expand is too high.  The pipe from Lake Washington to Mankato doesn’t have the capacity to handle our lakes.

Do I have to pay to have someone tell me I am non-compliant?  Can’t I just “surrender” and be considered non-compliant?  County response:  That is under consideration.

Is the cost of removing old systems built into the cost of the sewer option?  Wenck response: Yes.

On site systems pollute less than city sewer systems.

Even if working onsite systems are more effective, we have 50% of them non-compliant now.  Onsite systems have a limited lifespan.

Do we really want to send sewage to St. Peter?  They keep raising their rates?

I have already put in 5 systems so I don’t want to pay for city sewer.

I am on my 4th system and I want a permanent solution so I don’t have to keep updating.

I pump my tank every year.  Why am I not compliant?

East Jefferson was the clearest ever this year.  I believe it was due to the low rainfall and little run-off from farm fields.  Why aren’t we going after agriculture? 

There are things we can control and things that we can’t.  No study or government official has claimed improved septic treatment will clear up the lakes.  We do know that non-compliant systems can affect the lakes and also groundwater.  We do know that every little bit helps. So we do what we can do.  This is something we can control.  We can’t directly control farming practices.

The cost of a city sewer may price young people and seniors out of lake property.  County response: The cost of sewer can be spread out over up to 20 years at today’s historically low interest rates.  There are also other grants that are being pursued.

Compliance standards are changing too fast.

We must address where the pollution is coming from.

Clusters are way cheaper than the Wenck analysis. Wenck response:  Yes, they can be.  Our assumption is based on the County doing the cluster systems.  They must use engineers, pay prevailing wages, and pay for legal documents to set up and manage the systems.  They must also find land to purchase and purchase enough land so there is room when the cluster reaches life expectancy.  You may be able to get a deal on land and get cheaper labor and find volunteers to do much of the work. You must also deal with enforceability issues with your agreement and with dealing with your system after it has met its life expectancy.

What is the service life of a pipe?  Will there be additional assessments in the future or has that expense been calculated into the current proposal?

Who pays for the grinders when they fail?  Wenck response:  That expense is covered by warranty in the early years.  The cost for future repairs has already been figured into the current monthly cost.


What if the sewer system fails in the future?  Is there any by-pass or contingency plan?

My system works just fine right now.  There is no reason for it to be inspected.  I refuse to pay for an inspection.

In our neighborhood we have room for our own cluster system and that is what we plan to do.

What is the life expectancy of a cluster system?  Wenck response: 20-25 years.

I have heard rumors that some of the existing cluster systems around the lakes are having problems?  Is that true?

Our Sewer Board has done nothing.  Our lakes are already the cleanest around.   From the 2013 TMDL study of the lakes:  In 2008, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) listed the Jefferson-German Lake Chain (JGC) as impaired for aquatic recreation due to excess nutrients under section 303(d) of the Clean Water Act.  The goal of this (2013) TMDL analysis is to quantify the nutrient reduction that will be required to meet the water quality standards established for lakes in the NCHF eco-region. Furthermore, this study identified the largest sources of nutrients (phosphorus) to the JGC and complements existing studies to provide reduction strategies for source areas in accordance with section 303(d) of the Clean Water Act.


The county should require buffer strips along all waters flowing into our chain of lakes.  County response:  They intend to start enforcing the requirements along two of the ditches.


We can’t just keep postponing these decisions. We can’t just think about the short run.   We need a permanent solution where everyone is 100% compliant 100% of the time.

How will the County make a decision on this?  County response:  Based on the inputs received at the neighborhood meetings (These will occur starting in April) the County will vote to either do a sewer system for all of part of the chain of lakes or to let each neighborhood solve the problem in their own way.

MINNESOTA DNR NEWS #11                                                                                           Feb. 12, 2015
All news releases are available in the DNR’s website newsroom at


Officers find too many cases of ice anglers leaving trash behind

Recent weekly activity reports from conservation officers (COs) with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources are full of evidence of various types of refuse being discarded along frozen waterways.

“Once again, the most common complaint dealt with while on patrol involved anglers leaving their trash behind,” said CO Bret Grundmeier of Hinckley.

Grundmeier spends hours each ice fishing season checking anglers and encouraging them to clean up after themselves and remove garbage from lakes. “It is disappointing to find so much trash left on our lakes,” Grundmeier said. “Anglers are urged to police themselves and others.”

Minnesota’s fish house removal deadlines are March 2 in the southern part of the state and March 16 in the north.

Conservation officers make a concerted effort this time of the year to monitor and identify possible problem areas.  “I’ve already warned a couple of fish house owners about the litter accumulating outside of their house, which they agreed to clean up,” said Paul Kuske, a conservation officer based in Pierz.  “I always tell people the area outside their fish house is not their front yard, it is public waters,” he said.

Conservation officers see everything from wooden fish house blocking materials on lakes to empty propane cylinders, plastic bottles, pop cans, and even bags of human waste. All of these materials constitute litter. Littering is a misdemeanor with a fine of up to $1,000.

Used materials should be disposed of with local refuse haulers or at a local landfill. Litter tarnishes nature’s beauty, destroys wildlife habitats and ruins many opportunities for recreation.

Conservation officers also use technology to catch litterbugs, including digital pictures and GPS (Global Positioning System) coordinates.

Excuses like, “I was going to go get that later,” will not work and anyone who leaves garbage on the ice will receive a citation for littering.

Conservation officers also have solid waste civil citation authority. These civil citations are “by the pound” or “by the cubic foot” penalties, and since they are not criminal charges, they don’t require proof beyond a reasonable doubt. The person suspected of littering must pay the penalty and clean up the mess.  

The DNR offers the following tips to keep Minnesota waterways clean:

  • Set an example for others, especially children, by not littering.
  • Properly dispose of any materials that could trap or injure wildlife.
  • Check with a local refuse provider or landfill for disposal of items.
  • Keep a litter bag or trash container with you when traveling or outdoors.
  • Secure trash container covers to prevent wind or animals from spreading litter.
  • Cover and secure any vehicle, truck, or trailer carrying refuse.
  • When visiting any recreation area, make sure to leave the area clean for the next person to enjoy.

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Recent Events

2019 Annual Member Meeting: Slides are here, supplementary slides from Holly K. of Le Sueur County Environmental Services are here! The GJGLA President's spring 2019 letter is here. And the minutes from the annual meeting are here.

2018 Fall Educational Meeting (<--look left (and scroll) for links to the slides from presenters last fall)

Archived Items:

Summer Splash 2018

Minutes from 2018 member meeting

Archived Photos and Media:

Photos and slides from 2017 - Click here or  here for the Presentations from 2017 Fall Meeting


Visit our Newsletter page with recent newsletters from our Association and from Conservation Minnesota - Click here for our newsletters

Become a Watershed Specialist with the Univesity of Minnesota - Click here for more info

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