It's time to ask our Governor, our Commissioner of the DNR, our State Senators and State Representatives, "How many more lakes can we allow to become infested with zebra mussels before we get really serious about stopping the spread of aquatic invasive species?"
Our current strategy of education, awareness and occasional inspections of watercraft is not doing the job. As "personal responsibility" to stop the spread of AIS is not working sufficiently, it's time for our state to make it easier for people to do the right thing.
Contrary to popular myth, waterfowl do not transport zebra mussels, but people do. And contrary to popular belief, zebra mussels have no redeeming value and do nothing good for the water.
The DNR doesn't like to talk about it, but there is a serious concern that the reduced walleye yields in Lake Mille Lacs may be directly linked to its zebra mussel infestation several years ago.
Inspecting every watercraft prior to launch is the only known way to stop the spread of the human transferred aquatic invasive species. Inspections are not perfect, nor is decontamination, but this is our best option.
Our legacy of great recreational waters is screaming to be heard and protected by our state leaders. It's time to hold the DNR responsible for results, not just for making an effort.
- Joe Shneider
Chair, Coalition of Minnehaha Creek Waters
Scouts step up
To the Editor:
Several months past the community newspapers published my letter asking for help in maintaining the area around Minnetonka's largest bur oak, a huge tree scarred by the trials of its 300-year lifetime.
No one responded until Lucca Mancilio, a Boy Scout in Troop 208, sponsored by Oak Knoll Lutheran Church, stepped forward and organized a community service project in coordination with the city of Minnetonka and the Minnetonka branch of the Hennepin County Library, and approved by his Scoutmaster, Mitch Gleeman.
The service project is just one of the requirements to qualify for the Eagle rank, Scouting's highest honor for boys.
On the first weekend of August the troop and volunteers remove buckthorn and other alien plants, repaired the stairway to the library parking lot, covered the trail to the tree with wood chips, replaced damaged information labels, built a bench for book readers, applied redwood stain to it and existing benches for listeners and transplanted native wildflowers from the back yards of scouting families with advice from Minnetonka City's naturalist, Mike Lynch.
When Lucca completes the requirements for the Eagle he will receive the award in a Court of Honor, probably before the end of the year.
I'm extremely grateful to the scouts and volunteers who accomplished what I can no longer do.
Readers who would like to see a 2001 photo of the tree can find it on the Internet by Googling GCMRER and clicking on GCMRER/Kelly Park, or by Googling "Multistoried Oak" on Google Images and clicking on the thumbnail.
For those who would read a book under the tree: Take the trail from the northeast corner of the Minnetonka library parking lot into Kelly Park.