LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Let’s seek common sense solutions to invasive species issue
Do you think the Minnesota lakes survey referenced in the Bemidji Pioneer on Dec. 21 was a little bit slanted? Why survey just lake associations and advocates for lake and river protection? It is our tax dollars that are used for such management, so why not hear from the other side to be fair? I am sick and tired of false hysteria from the Minnesota Lakes and Rivers executives. Of course this article is politically motivated to give only one perspective to promote the unconstitutional inspections and doom and gloom over our lakes' health.
It may be wiser for lake associations and these other organizations to first promote ecological health among lakeshore lots pertaining to riparian buffers before requesting more money for invasive species inspections. It is hypocritical to target only boat access users and to ignore your own backyards, having lawns extending all the way to the water's edge that compromise the wise utilization of water and related resources.
Also, comments like "highway stops and central boat cleaning need to be supported" are a bit confusing. I represent common users who do comply with the regulations that are enforced by conservation officers and other law enforcement officials who are qualified. The 2015 and 2016 Beltrami County AIS program indicated that 98 percent and 99 percent of boaters inspected complied respective to those years. Then the question should be why are we wasting taxpayers' money on that effort. Maybe the DNR should invest in more dog sniffing, detecting invasive microorganisms in places inspectors cannot find them. Natural occurrences are present, and birds and animals do move aquatic plants to and from watersheds. It happens terrestrially, and it happens in our lakes. People fish at night without any inspections or proper lighting at most accesses.
Many unknowns exist, and nobody can guarantee the elimination of every introduction of any invasive species. The common user does not come to a lake to introduce invasive species. More inspections are not the answer. An ecologist once said “ecosystems are not only more complex than we think, they are more complex than we can think.” Nobody has the answer; just do your part in following the law and let your politicians and county commissioners know how you feel and together we can help repel mandatory boat inspections and replace it with common sense solutions.