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The bigger crime


flipper

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Excuse me while I get on my soapbox for a minute.
From time to time we see a post about people who are overharvesting, exceeding their limits or just not using common sense about depleting our resources. I agree that anyone taking over their limit should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law, but I feel there is a much larger and more harmful problem occurring.
It is difficult to find a lake in Minnesota where shoreline alterations are not occurring. Although there are laws on the books about preservation of natural shorelines and lake weeds, these laws are rarely enforced. How a DNR officer can go on a lake and not see these violations is beyond me. Are they instructed by their supervisors not to involve themselves in enforcing these laws?
In my mind destruction of habitat poses a much greater risk to the future of fishing than does overharvest.
The future of fishing for our children depends on educating the owners of lakeshore property, enforcing the laws that are already in existence, and perhaps creating some new common sense laws to prevent the irreversible destruction of our lakes that we all love so much.
thank you for listening,
flipper

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I completely agree that the destruction of shoreline is probably the biggest concern and obstacle to a good future for our lakes. People can talk about keeping too many fish or whatever as much as they want, but if the shorelines are all destroyed and habitat is gone, there won't be as many desirable fish left anyway.
One of the problems is that shoreline property is so dang expensive that when a guy buys a nice spot on the lake, he feels like he should make the shoreline "nice" to feel like he got his money's worth.
I don't agree that conservation officers are at fault, however, as recent government and cout decision has, more often than not, left their hands tied on many issues. I think it's up to counties and neighbors to keep a close eye on what is happening to the shoreline. If permits are given for a shoreline alteration, there needs to be routine checks in the years that follow to insure a person is following their permit.

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I plead guilty to shoreline alteration. HOWEVER, the reason for this is not for aeshetics, but for preserving the shore (as weird as it sounds.) My family has had a cabin on a large lake in the Brainerd area for over three decades and we have seen the distance from the cabin to the water's edge decrease significantly in that time. In fact, from 1996-97, we lost 20 feet of lakeshore. The cabin is now only 45-50 feet from the water, so something had to be done. We brought in rocks to prevent anymore erosion and they have really helped.

I do belive that there is a limit, however, as to what should be acceptable. Some of the lakes in the Brainerd area have been so overdeveloped that I wouldn't care to live on them (i.e. Gull,Ossawinnamakee,etc.).

I think a large problem lies with people illegally clearing weeds. One summer, we had weeds wash ashore, lined up 40 feet from the shoreline. Someone had obviously done some illegal clearing. Some neighbors even hired an excavation company to take a digger and get rid of the (literally tons) of weeds.

Another problem occurs when people don't secure their inflatables and other light items. It doesn't take much wind to have them litter a lake. I have found three huge styrofoam cubes in the last two years, for example. But I suppose that is a different topic in itelf.

[This message has been edited by smartguy (edited 09-12-2003).]

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What about weed killing pellets and weed rollers? Not to mention the removal of cattails and leaves to replace them with some sand for a private beach? How about a milfoil mower? It's all about education isn't it? Or maybe it's about swimming? I fish more water with undeveloped shorelines. Protect shorlines and practice catch and release to assure the fishing for the future. Good topic.

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why not plant native plants along your shoreline? Their roots go deeper and help prevent much more erosion, they also help filter out many of the contaminants that would otherwise enter the lake through the rocks. We did this at a lodge i belong to in Arden Hills on Lake Josephine. The plants are now flourishing and since the plantings wqe have had no problems with geese or muskrats.

------------------
Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity and I'm not sure about the former.
-Albert Einstein

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I had a neighbor who was quite wealthy and built one of those monstrocities on green lake. He completely "Re-did" the lot next to the lake. Neighbors were complaining that he should be held accountable or that they should be able to make modifications to their shore property. Heres the funny part. One day I had brought a walleye in to the DNR office on CO Rd 8, to ascertain why it had these lumps on it. After I learned that it was harmless lymphocystis I left the office, on the way out I met my neighbor (rich guy). We exchanged pleasantries and I asked him what he (not a sportsman) was doing at the DNR office, and he said (pp) Paying off some building permit fees(he winked). I said "Oh I see" and dropped it. Whilst driving home I pondered what kind of fees there could be? and blam it hit me FEES=FINES! I guess the old saying is right If you are wealthy enough laws are just a matter of minor inconvenience.
God lyk!
JC

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Oh boy, you guys have finally hit a REALLY sore subject with me.
I was going to post about this exact crap going on in the state!(Yes this chaps me)
My parents have a cabin on East Battle Lake in Ottertail county. I have been going there since 1985. Today the lake is mostly developed, and guess what's going on?
Lake quality issues.

My dad and I were ripping shingles off a few weekends ago, and he starts telling me a story about lakeshore owner issues.
"There is a problem down on the south end of the lake with weeds. The Lakeshore assc was going to do something to treat the problem with their funds, but other lakehshore owners were crying, "Why do they get help?"
I almost fell off the roof! I looked at my Dad and started going off,"People on the lake are complaining about water quality. Wow! Who are the people developing the watersheds? Who are the people fertilzing their lawns all summer? Who are the people ripping out the sections of cattails so they can put a dock in marginal areas? When more people destroy the lakeshore, and put in docks, they are the ones churning up the lake with their boats, and the waves are churning up crap off their shorelines because they cleared them.
Dad had nothing to say. He knew what I was saying.
People cause the problems, but they want others to fix it for them. Bull crap! I hope this topic goes for miles.

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Bobb-o: One needs a DNR permit to move bogs of cattails. Our family got rocks for free (we just had to haul them). So putting weeds in front of the shoreline wasn't really feasable for us. However, the last couple years, I have planted several trees along the shoreline in hopes that their root systems would slow the erosion process.

[This message has been edited by smartguy (edited 09-13-2003).]

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the thing is, almost anyone can alter lakeshore legally form just getting a permit from the DNR.
myself, I am not interested in swimming or waterskiing, I just want to fish, so my lake place has natual lakefront. it is the best fishing from the dock in the spring, but by late summer, its tough to fish from the dock from all the pads and rice, which is fine with me, as like I said, I have some of the best fishing from the dock into midsummer. habitat, thats all the lake needs for good fishing.
what kills me is when people complain that they cannot catch anything off there docks, or the lake is dead, when they remove all the habitat. common sense is getting lost in this day and age.

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Rivers are also in danger of mans intended or unintended alterations.

One well intending group made a practice of annual "River Clean-ups". They loaded up a bunch of boats with chain saws and headed out to cut away snags and overhangs to "Improve the River".

I was not impressed with this theory as it eliminated much critical habitat and produced additional hazards to boaters. Habitat is key to rivers, for some it is snags and that is about it. Without them snags they have a sterile channel that resembles a shoot.

Since then this group has been educated and do not eliminate these valuable souses of habitat as a practice. But some do still saw away snags on the ice in the winter producing more dangerous deadheads for boaters and eliminating habitat. I would like to see winter river harvest of wood banned unless it is specifically allowed by permit.

My personal major pet peeve is dumping. I see resident and "Lawn Care Specialist's" use the rivers as their own personal disposal sites. I witness this almost on a daily basis.

They intensionally dump all there yard clipping into the river or over the bank so the next high water event takes it away. Professional yard care providers also do it as a practice. They fertilize the yards heavily and then they dump the yard waist in weekly.

This adds the #1 offender to out regions rivers, phosphates, bio-matter, lawn chemicals, and fertilizers to the system.

This practice is against the law but it is not enforced. I have repeatedly brought it to the attention of the powers that be and Nada, no fines are Leveled against the offenders.

This is very worrisome and frustrating to me!

------------------
Ed "Backwater Eddy" Carlson

Backwater Guiding "ED on the RED"
701-281-2300
[email protected]

[This message has been edited by Backwater Eddy (edited 09-13-2003).]

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The DNR prints a magazine called the Minnesota Volunteer. I believe the last issue had a very good article, about "the state of lakes". I can't remember the exact wording in part of the article, but it was interesting.
A DNR aquatic specialist was at a guys cabin on Lobster lake. The guy apparently bulldozed the trees from one corner of the lot to the other. The guy had a woodduck house on each corner, and commented to the DNR guy,"Gee I sure love wildlife."
Basically in that property owners eyes, he was helping wildlife with his 2 woodduck houses. Meanwhile he impacted countless other birds, mammals, amphibians, etc.
I really think that a lot of people have that mentality. Its a shame.
The article was very informative. I cannot find it on the DNR website though.
Its such a shame. Legal or illegal alterations are all bad. (Well, I suppose in some instances an alteration can help, but those are the minority)

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Backwater Eddy

If you can nail these people down to some kinda schedule of when they are dumping, turn it over to a news channel. They love a good scandal especially when they don’t have to work hard to get it.

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Call me stupid but are lawn fertilizers making the lakes green or what...east battle...west battle...you name the lake and I'll tell you shoreline has been ruined and nobody seems to care. Why does a guy want a lawn at the cabin anyway? Ever had your best weedline mowed by the milfoil weedeating guy? Not to mention the chemical put in the lakes to kill weeds... how about the signs they post...don't let your dog drink from this water or your children swim in it for 7 days...hello is anybody home?

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I think thats the point everyone is trying to make.
People are the cause to the problems they see, but they are not smart enough to realize it and help rectify it.


(Ya kinda lost me on Battle Lake comments. The tone is hard to read.)

[This message has been edited by biglakeba$$ (edited 09-17-2003).]

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I just mean that shoreline has been destroyed and fishing spots have been wrecked. You can find this on almost every lake with development on it. The whole thing really ticks me when I think about it. Do we still eat the fish in lakes they poison the weeds in?

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I am very surprised by the lack of interest in this post. If this thread was started under a different heading like"Liberal bag limits restored to Mn waters" It would be onfire in a day with seeminly endless input from concerned sportsman. This is something I have posted in a couple different forums and should be looked at closley.

A U.W.Madison study of 14 lakes near Boulder Junction found that bluegill in lakes surrounded by cottages grew at 1/3 the rate of bluegill in lakes with no cottages. The study also found that bluegill populations of undeveloped lakes were more than twice as productive as those on lakes surrounded by cottages.
Such findings and booming developement along Wisconsin waters is stirring concerns among fisheries and other enviromental officials about the effect on Wisconsin's fishing, water quality and aquatic ecosystems.
"If we destroy the natural shoreline habitat then fishing will get worse and we cannot fix that situation simply by stocking or changing the fishing regulations" says Mike Staggs, DNR director of fisheries management and habitat protection. "If you want great fishing, then you have to protect the habitat".

That is from the Wisconsin fishing regulation booklet.

Loss of habitat is the #1 problem in many northern Wisconsin lakes. Once it's gone, the good fishing is gone also. Restoring habitat is possible but it takes money and cooperation from land owners. Getting land owners to reverse the damage they have done is nearly impossible. The cost involved for one thing. Tearing up what they think is an improvement(lawns to the shore and man made beaches)is unthinkable in many minds. And we all know that some people don't give a rats behind about the consequenses for their actions. If you have a lake that has been over harvested nature itself will replenish it. Fish are a renewable resource only if they have the habitat to renew.

I don't have the answer for the problem, but it is something that should be looked at and acted on by concerned sportsman in Mn. I know in Wi. there is a conserted effort to correct the problem and in some cases has been successful. But why wait until it's to that point?? Can't laws on the books be enforced now?? Can't laws be introduced to head off the problem. Is there really that little interest in this problem? I hope not.

Fishing is Life

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My sister used to work for the Wisconsin DNR in the Milwaukee area. She was in the water regulation division. Part of her responsibilities included granting or not granting permits for building on riparian areas. Kohler Plumbing products wanted to build a golf course on Lake Michigan. She denied the permit. Ended up in court, and, of course, Kohler won. Same kind of scenario with a restaurant being built actually on Lake Michigan. She told me that quite often people wanting to build on lakes, streams and wetlands would just go to their congressman after she denied them a permit and the higher ups at the dnr would end up caving in. Very frustrating for her to try to protect the water for everyone when a few elite people felt that since they bought property on water they could do whatever they wanted. I'm not trying to dump on the rich, I'm sure if anyone could afford lakeshore, there would be a lot more people trying to build their dream house without thinking of the negative impact that some of these houses bring.
I sure hope attitudes change in the future.
Off my soapbox (for now).

------------------
Erik

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This topic has come up before and I'm sure will come up again. IMHO groups like Muskies Inc., DU, Izaak Walton, DNR, etc have to band together and make lakeshore resoration a priority. I know that Muskies Inc. mobilized just this year to do something about a muskie spawning area on Leech that was slated for developement.

The Minnesota Walleye Alliance is struggling for an identity. This could be their big item to push. Some group(s) should grab this issue and run with it. There are good selling points to having a natural shoreline. They are low maintenance, good for wildlife (except geese which love the manicured lawns), and I actually think they are much prettier. Anyway, good topic.

mm

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I beleive the growing population has resulted in seasonal cabins being converted to year round habitation. The problem that this creates is that the septics on these site were designed as seasonal an they were not designed with todays technology either (seepage pits, privies vs. standard Minn Chapter 7080 approved systems) Along with this was the belief at the time that more lots on a given space was a larger tax base. Can one recognize the the reprocutions of these politics in our modern growing population? OK, Now we have the State budget deficets that are being passed down to the counties who are cutting down to bare bones and just hanging onto state mandated programs which results in loss of services. Does planning and Zoning now spend their time on gaining compliance with new permits and formulating more streamlined ordinances or fixing what was done wrong in the past? I am just venting a bit as I was one of the most recent victims of downsizing due to county budget cuts. Food for thought.....

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