Monday, August 10, 2015

From Runoff to Ruin: The Undoing of Minnesota's Lakes by Ron Way and Steve Berg

From the Star Tribune, August 7, 2015
A very relevant article by Ron Way and Steve Berg published in the Star Tribune on August 7, 2015.

(For the complete article click here)

The article talks about how the water quality of the lakes in Central Minnesota has declined in the last decades.  Way and Berg detail what and how this has happened in the article.  They talk about how reckless shore line development has "killed" some of the lakes.  Lakes can not just keep taking in run off from roads, parking lots, fertilized lawns, and so on without changing.  In recent years many lakes have huge algae blooms by mid summer which affect most water activities and fishing.   There is some discussion on whether a lake can be restored, but Way and Berg are fairly pessimistic about that outcome. They believe  we need to protect the "good" lakes we have now.

In the 8th paragraph they mention the Park Rapids region.  Their solution is that local people and their governments need to step up and plan for development.  The system we have now is not working.

According to Way and Berg, "The damage came less from numbers, however, than from careless design. The real-estate market and local governments treated lake country not as a delicate ecosystem but as an ordinary template for suburban excess. The jarring retail strip along Hwy. 371 between Baxter and Nisswa offers an ironic example. Its lineup of big boxes fronted by barren parking lots replicates the suburban sprawl that vacationers go north to escape."

We can all do our part at keeping Long Lake clear and clean and this is food for thought.

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