How To Keep Public Waters Clean
In Minnesota, the Land of 10,000 Lakes, aquatic exotic species are moving in polluting our lakes and making them impossible to fish on, swim in or ski on. These exotic species of weeds are by nature very aggressive and invasive.
Not enough is being done, even on Big Fish Lake, to control these exotic species that can ruin a lake in short fashion. With all the concerns that our local, county or state governments have on their plate, providing enough money to do this control will be hard to come by. Lake Shore owners, users of the lake and those who benefit from clean lake and river water have to become more aggressive and more effective with the resources at hand. Our State policies for the containment of aquatic exotic species are largely passive, resting on education and awareness. Every lake association must shift to a more active prevention and management policy that relies on intervention and aggressive control. Education always proves to be effective. The Minnesota DNR knows that 1.6 boaters entering lakes have aquatic vegetation attached. On Lake Minnetonka alone, with 1/3 of a million boats using that lake every season, over 5000 have vegetation attached. The DNR can testify to the fact that they observe boats on the highway with Eurasian water milfoil attached. The biggest threat to our lakes is
- Eurasian water milfoil
- Curley leaf pondweed
- zebra mussels.
In addition, there are many other exotic species that contaminate our state waters. We don’t want any of these species in any of our lakes or rivers. The Minnesota DNR spends over $100,000 yearly for the past three years on milfoil management. No state money is spent on Curley leaf pondweed, but we know it exists in over 560 lakes or in 80% of our state counties. Lake Associations have already spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to manage exotic species in public waters.
Some lakes are getting aggressive and not allowing any watercraft on to the lake via public or private landings without a full inspection. Trailers, boats and live wells cannot contain water, or weeds from any other lake or water source. Some lakes in Minnesota frustrated by the slow and inadequate action of the DNR and the local conservation district have imposed inspections for all watercraft entering the lake. The fee charged to use the access covers the cost of these inspections. Lakes with Zebra mussels are being asked to have every boat leaving (Lake Zumbro and Lake Ossawinnamakee) be inspected so as not to allow the spread of this species to other lakes.
Big Fish Lake is presenting discussion this environmental challenge and will have new regulations in place by spring.