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LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Shoreline owners must be good stewards of our lakes

Nothing is more destructive to a lake than the urbanization of its shoreline. Many of our more popular lakes now have highly altered shorelines, as submerged, emergent and transitional habitat is transformed into sandy beaches and suburban lawns.

With the loss of some of the world’s best erosion control, many of our shorelines are now hardened with seawalls and riprap, in an attempt to keep valuable real estate from being claimed by a lake that has been robbed of much of its life-sustaining habitat. With their ecosystems so unbalanced, these lakes now lack the resilience to keep non-native species in check.

Besides its role in maintaining water quality, erosion control and essential habitat, the aesthetic role of the fringing native vegetation cannot be overlooked. Take Concordia Bay on Turtle River Lake as an example. Anyone who has boated on this lake knows of the splendid beauty of this bay. This is what a northern Minnesota lake should look like. This is what folks travel hundreds of miles to experience. Aside from some voices, an occasional bell, or the sight of some swimmers, one would never know that there are hundreds of people, and dozens of structures, along the shoreline. Now that is good stewardship of a precious resource.

Shoreline owners have a responsibility to be good stewards of our lakes. Good stewardship means living on a lake without loving it to death. It is unfortunate that there are those who just don’t get it -- that there even needs to be discussion about a shoreline protection ordinance.

Mark Schultz

Turtle River