Those darn pesky weeds are back. Yuck! The MN DNR Ecological Services is taking comments until August 14th on the Aquatic Plant Management program. Comments can be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org. At issue is finding a way to fund the program's costs, by increasing the current plant removal permit fees. For more background on the APM go to the DNR Website.
Seems to me that it is a misnomer to call a process destroy aquatic habitat; a plant management program. Fishermen tend to call things as they see them. I'd call it the Aquatic Plant Destruction Program or the Rip, Rake, Poison Program. The problem with raising the permits costs is that it just might drive folks underground. More and more I'm seeing yet another McMansion being built on a former small cabin site. Strangely a couple of hundred feet of lake shore is magically devoid of a single aquatic plant? Lake shore Associations sure make a big deal about the spread of invasive species but where are they at with keeping our lakes aquatically healthy? Most folks with expertise on lakes, know that some invasive get a better foothold in areas that have been stripped of native habitat. Anglers need to be part of stopping the spread of evasives, but don't deserve the blame they seem to be getting. I'm starting to feel a little like I'm being labeled a eco-terrorist if I fish "someone's" lake. Case in point is Zebra Mussels, the current thinking by fisheries experts is that adult clusters of live mussels are likey behind most infestations. While transportation of immature zebra mussel villigers in weeds hanging on your boat or in contained water could be a cause, I haven't seen a case study that makes a direct finding.
A few years ago the DNR promulgated a set of Alternative Shoreline Management rules. They are a step in the right direction. It calls for tighter restrictions and less habitat loss. My suggestion to the APM program is to reward the lake shore owners and associations that adopt the alternative rules, make sure that new or remodeled lake shore development receives a high degree of monitoring and make the fees and fines painful enough to deter violators.