As many of you are aware, Wright County started their regional inspection program in October, 2017. They are now getting ready to reveal the results of the full year 2018 program. The public meeting and county board work session is scheduled for Tuesday, December 11 at 11 AM. It will take place at the Wright County Courthouse/Government Center located at 10 2nd Street NW, Buffalo, MN 55413. There is supposed to be time for public input, but I’m not totally convinced that will happen based on their “public input” meetings that were held in 2017. Here’s a link to the Wright County Soil and Water District website where a copy of the draft report and 2018 meeting minutes are located:
That’s the official version, now here’s my take. I’ve been involved with AIS issues for over 27 years, starting with zebra mussels in Michigan when I lived in Detroit. I’ve seen lake associations, cities and counties do what they thought was necessary to stop the “boogeyman”. Other than the boating inspections in Cali-Russia, this one in Wright County has the potential to be the death knell for anyone wanting to enjoy the thousands of lakes in the state without severe interventions. Yeah, I know AIS is bad and we should all do our part for us, our children, the next 50 generations, blah, blah, blah. The problem is, most of us already do that, and my thought, based on many, many years as an angler and involvement with AIS issues in 5 different states, does not allow me to be a fan of the regional inspection program. The main reason is the lack of exit inspections, which in the case of the 4 pilot lakes in Wright County’s program includes 3 lakes that have zebra mussels and/or starry stonewort in them. I will never be able to see the justification of any program that does not include exit inspections, but that’s another diatribe.
Probably most of you have never seen me on this site before, and I apologize for that. I’ve been a member of IDO for several years, but not on a regular basis. I’m also a member of 5 different city/county commissions, watershed districts and water management organizations, including a member of the DNR’s Statewide AIS Advisory Committee. This is a group of 15 individuals from around the state, selected by DNR Management based on our varied backgrounds and experiences in AIS management programs. So, I get to be on the forefront of all things happening on the AIS venue, and the Wright County program scares me, and I’m older than dirt and not afraid of anything!!! I’ve also been selected to be on the DNR’s Regional Inspection Program Roundtable, with meetings scheduled in January and late February/early March to review regional inspection program guidelines.
Another issue that I would ask you to be aware of is the influence of a quasi-political voice known as the Minnesota Lakes and Rivers Advocates. We had a presentation from this group’s leader last week at our AIS Advisory Committee meeting. He’s trying to get all the lake associations in each county to follow the “civic governance” model in making sure their voice is heard at the state legislature. Also, he’s been touring the state with the governor-elect, and is trying to influence the selection of a new DNR Commissioner that would be “lake association friendly”. Scary stuff, every resident of this state and country has the right to have their voice heard, but their tactics, in my opinion, resort to bullying tactics.
Sorry for the length of this post, I know the meeting time next week is not going to work for anyone that has a job and other responsibilities during the day, but hopefully some of you can make it. Thanks.