Many of you may not have seen the article in Outdoor News a few weeks ago about Big Pequaywan. The lakeshore owners want to block the DNR from building a public access on this body of water. They appear to be claiming that by allowing the public to have access, the public will ultimately spread invasive species such as Zebra Mussels and Eurasian Milfoil.
"Access to public water is an important part of Minnesota’s heritage and identity. Therefore, Anglers For Habitat supports the MnDNR Public Access Program and its plan for Big Pequaywan Lake. Blocking access to public waters is unacceptable.
However, a goal of Anglers for Habitat is to assist statewide programs to contain aquatic invasive species (AIS) and work to prevent new infestations by educating anglers to clean boats, live wells and trailers, to ensure that boats, sailboats, docks, lifts and all equipment used in infested waters is thoroughly cleaned. The time has come for increased vigilance and personal responsibility. Anglers For Habitat will work with anglers, pleasure boaters, Lake Associations, MnDNR and the Legislature to reduce the threat of aquatic invasive species."
Anglers for Habitat hopes to build coalitions for several purposes, including the primary purpose of preserving, protecting and improving the conditions of public waters to support healthy fish populations for perpetuity. AFH was initiated to bring together a consortium that could accomplish more as a unified voice for angling, clean water and habitat improvement, and to obtain and direct funding to that end.
The solution to slowing the spread of invasives is not blocking access, banning fisherpersons who don’t live on the lake or keeping the public out. The solution is building coalitions that can educate anglers and lakeshore owners to the “best practices” of preserving and protecting aquatic habitat and our angling heritage. While it is an old clique, it’s is all about building trust and teamwork.