Losing Our Lakes

  • Officials in Minnesota's vacationland can't say 'no' to those who want to break the rules. Since 2005, land-use boards in Cass and Crow Wing counties allowed hundreds of home builders to break rules aimed at preserving the state's most valuable natural resource, according to a Star Tribune review of thousands of pages of building records.

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Waterfront home built 39 feet from the water

  • Can’t say ‘no’

    Article By: RAYMOND GRUMNEY , Publish / Update March 15, 2011 1:14 PM

    Land-use boards in Cass and Crow Wing counties routinely allow home builders to break rules aimed at protecting the lakes from pollution and overdevelopment.

Lake Independence, 20 miles west of Minneapolis and surrounded by roll...

  • One lake gets cleanup money, but makes little progress

    Article By: RAYMOND GRUMNEY , Publish / Update March 15, 2011 1:14 PM

    Eight years after Lake Independence was declared ‘impaired,’ however, the water remains almost as polluted as ever. A $410,000 grant was largely spent on less effective urban projects such as rain gardens after farmers and livestock owners declined to participate in the cleanup.

Cary Shoutz, Cross Lake area state conservation officer, cruises the s...

  • Video: on the water with state conservation officer Cary Shoutz

    Article By: BRIAN PETERSON , Publish / Update April 20, 2011 5:54 PM

    Cary Shoutz is one of 191 enforcement agents who are supposed to protect 12,000 lakes from safety and environmental violation. But some conservation officials, including Shoutz, say their forces have been been stretched by stagnant staffing during a 30-year boom in lakefront development. "I think we should be worried," he says.

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