Letter: Everyone can make a differenc...

Letter: Everyone can make a difference for our lakes

There are 4 comments on the St. Cloud Times Online story from Jul 28, 2008, titled Letter: Everyone can make a difference for our lakes. In it, St. Cloud Times Online reports that:

I strongly agree with the balanced Times Our View "Together we can clean lakes," published July 20.

Join the discussion below, or Read more at St. Cloud Times Online.

Patty Johnson

Sheboygan, WI

#1 Jul 31, 2008
Stinkers, Thinkers and those wearing Blinkers!
Wednesday, July 30, 2008 from the littlerocklakeblog
We listened to the TMDL study presented in Sauk Rapids on July 29th, concerning Little Rock Lake, and I think most of the audience found it interesting, but to me there was still an attitude of helplessness that I could feel. This is the attitude that I have felt ever since I bought a cabin on the lake, and it is the attitude that I hope will change. I think working towards a cause rather than accepting a problem helps empower people and in that empowerment, we can feel hope. The work that Soil and Water, The DNR and the MPCA as well as the LRLA has put in on Little Rock Lake should be giving us all a sense of hope.
Everyone was grateful to Annie Felix and Maggie Leach because we all know the amount of work they and their organizations are doing. We listened to the presentations and we knew they were probably correct in telling us this was a "long term challenge," even if we hoped that they could give us information for a cheap and temporary fix for the horrible mess in front of our docks. continued
Patty Johnson

Sheboygan, WI

#2 Jul 31, 2008
continued:
We heard the words 2010 and we sighed, because it seemed such a long time from now, when we have not had the use of our cabins because of the strong odor coming from the blue green algae. Maybe we can excuse ourselves because the fumes have fogged our brains over the past years. We are weary of the fight. There are some of us who probably felt, "it is the same old story so I'm just going to shut myself up in my house and pray for the time I can sell." The reality is that you can't sell a property on the lake for the price you need to get out of it until the lake is cleaned up. Hopefully most of us took hope from the meeting and came out of it ready to face the challenge.
The group was very pleased to learn that William Walker had been hired and that he worked for the Corp of Engineers and had taken on projects all over the world. They were pleased to know that we were at the head of the list for TMDL studies and that we were moving ahead quicker than most lakes....but I don't think any of us were pleased to know that once the study is done.....we are going to have a super challenge to implement lake improvements. That's where the real work has to be done.
We have the stinkers....they are the ones who mess up the lakes, and since we do not have what was called a "point source" on Little Rock, it is going to be hard for the MPCA to do much about changing the phosphorous coming into the lake, because they do not have the authority. They will need help from local governing bodies.
We have the thinkers...they are the ones like William Walker, the DNR and the MPCA. They are the experts , we put our trust in them, and they must lead the way.
continued
Patty Johnson

Sheboygan, WI

#3 Jul 31, 2008
We have the "blinkers," they are the ones that try to pretend that everything is going "Just fine, and they do not want to upset their local voters by voting for an unpopular state law that takes away local control. We have l,475 impaired lakes and they all have certain things in common causing their problems. Little Rock is unique in its historical formation so we do not fit the standard impaired lake pattern. However, once you have three or four generalized lake studies, you can see certain patterns emerging about the way we our destroying our waterways. The blinkers have to open their eyes.
My father ( Vern Gunvalson) was one of the first13 original Regional Biologists hired by the DNR in MN when it originated back in the late l940's. As a child I remember him going from meeting to meeting talking to farmers in watershed districts asking them not to plow up to the roads, to leave brush near ditch lines. He would go out to lake and resort associations and talk about septics draining into the lakes etc. It was an unpopular idea then, and it is an unpopular idea now. Relying on volunteer best practices when it comes to the protection of our waterways that supply the drinking water to all of Minnesota, in my opinion is unrealistic and does not work. We need tough laws and we need tough people to author them. We can't expect the DNR or the MPCA to solve problems when their hands are tied by the legislation we currently have on the books.
And then there are those of us who are living near the lakes or using the lakes and want Minnesota Lakes to be the pride of our state. Hopefully we can become the do'ers. There are only 75 members of the LRLA. We need more members to be heard and we need each and every one of you to become active if you want your lake to improve and your property to have value. The media can be our best weapon. Write letters to your representatives. Tell them you want them to author a bill that will give the DNR and MPCA more power to improve lakes. Write a letter to the editor in your local paper asking people to support the clean water act in Nov. Write a letter to your local TV station asking them to do a story on the problem with MN waters. We need the word to get out if we are to have any effect on cleaning up the lakes. This is not just a Little Rock Lake Problem. It is statewide. We have l,475 lakes that are getting worse every day. None of us own the lakes in MN. They are owned by the state! The state has allowed a mess to fester in our back yards by not having strong enough enforcement. Now we are asked to clean up their problem by doing small things like not fertilizing our lawns and checking our septics. Sure, we can do that...but it is just a tiny measure. and we need bigger steps. The state has to be accountable for passing strong laws and we need to hold them accountable. They are hired experts, stewards and hired guardians of our 10,000 lakes. Each State office can get their team of hired specialists to help put together a bill that they in turn can give to a politician to author, and then the voters can elect to pass the law. But first someone out there has to become a Do'er, not just a thinker, a stinker or a person wearing a blinker.
Patty Johnson

Sheboygan, WI

#4 Jul 31, 2008
continued from lst,paragraph... We heard the words 2010 and we sighed, because it seemed such a long time from now, when we have not had the use of our cabins because of the strong odor coming from the blue green algae. Maybe we can excuse ourselves because the fumes have fogged our brains over the past years. We are weary of the fight. There are some of us who probably felt, "it is the same old story so I'm just going to shut myself up in my house and pray for the time I can sell." The reality is that you can't sell a property on the lake for the price you need to get out of it until the lake is cleaned up. Hopefully most of us took hope from the meeting and came out of it ready to face the challenge.
The group was very pleased to learn that Willliam Walker had been hired and that he worked for the Corp of Engineers and had taken on projects all over the world. They were pleased to know that we were at the head of the list for TMDL studies and that we were moving ahead quicker than most lakes....but I don't think any of us were pleased to know that once the study is done.....we are going to have a super challenge to implement lake improvements. That's where the real work has to be done.
We have the stinkers....they are the ones who mess up the lakes, and since we do not have what was called a "point source" on Little Rock, it is going to be hard for the MPCA to do much about changing the phosphorous coming into the lake, because they do not have the authority. They will need help from local governing bodies.
We have the thinkers...they are the ones like William Walker, the DNR and the MPCA. They are the experts , we put our trust in them, and they must lead the way.

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