A voice for Minnesota lakes stepping away from podium
SPICER, Minn. -- A familiar voice on behalf of the lakes of Kandiyohi County is stepping back from the podium he has used for the cause. Terry Frazee, executive secretary of the Green Lake Property Owners Association, told members at the annual m...
SPICER, Minn. - A familiar voice on behalf of the lakes of Kandiyohi County is stepping back from the podium he has used for the cause.
Terry Frazee, executive secretary of the Green Lake Property Owners Association, told members at the annual meeting that he is retiring from the position he’s held for 23 years.
“The time comes to pass the torch,’’ said Frazee, who has offered to help a successor take on the role. The Green Lake Property Owners Association is currently looking for that person.
A Bird Island native, Frazee and his wife, Kathryn, have made Green Lake their permanent home since the mid-1990s, when he retired from a career in education as a superintendent of schools.
Frazee stepped into the executive secretary role after serving two three-year terms on the association’s board of directors, including a stint as its president. His terms on the board were busy years, to say the least. There was plenty of debate about the installation of the Green Lake sanitary sewer system at the time.
Aquatic invasive species and the efforts to keep them out of the lake have dominated his years as executive secretary. Eurasian milfoil reached the lake in 2000, despite the Property Owners Association’s efforts to enlist the help of boaters and others using the lake to be on guard against its introduction.
For the most part, aquatic invasive species are spread to lakes by human activity, not wildlife, Frazee said. Consequently the association has always worked to educate lake users about how they can help stop the spread of invasive species.
The Green Lake Property Owners Association has been a state leader in committing its own resources to the effort. It is one of the first, if not the first, lakes association in the state to purchase a power washer to decontaminate boats using the lake. The machines cost $20,000 a pop.
Frazee and the association worked very hard to keep zebra mussels out of the lake, and were very early in calling attention to the threat they represented. Frazee approached the Kandiyohi County Board of Commissioners years ago to talk about the threat. Frazee laughed about how one commissioner looked at him and said: “Terry, do you just lie awake at night making up these things?’’
If only, as zebra mussels have now arrived and are proving the menace once feared.
Frazee said there is a need to be even more vigilant today: Starry stonewort was discovered last year in Lake Koronis and has spread quickly throughout the nearby lake.
Along with fighting aquatic invasive species, Frazee said he’s used his role as executive secretary to encourage people to work with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources to protect the waters of all the lakes in the county. He said it’s important that people understand how important it is to work with the DNR on lake issues.
And, he also wants people to know that the work of the Green Lake Property Owners Association has also been aimed at protecting all of the lakes of the county. “We do not want any other lake to get AIS. We have them, we are trying to do everything we can to protect all of the other lakes,’’ he said.
Frazee also credits his wife with assisting him in his role through these years. There’s no counting how many times they have sat down together and stuck stamps and address labels on the Green Lake Property Owners Association newsletter, the Breeze, that goes out to over 800 addresses.
As the executive secretary Frazee attended lots of meetings, locally and in St. Paul, to speak on behalf of the lakes in the county. He spent a lot of time working with DNR staff, elected officials and others, and has maintained personal contacts with them.
“No one will ever be able to say Terry Frazee did not work for Green Lake. I love Green Lake,’’ said Frazee.
He remains optimistic for its future, too. “It’s never going to go back to the way it was 20 years ago, but if we can continue where we’re at right now, we’re going to do a good job,’’ he said, adding: “But it takes everybody. It takes everybody.’’