WALKER -- Not only will a loss of water clarity cause individual property owners to lose value in their properties, but also it could cost Cass County a loss of up to $1 billion in value, according to Pat Welle of Bemidji State University.
Welle conducted a study recently on the impact lost water clarity could have on 37 lakes in the Mississippi Headwaters region of Minnesota.
He said the Secchi disc readings of water clarity are something people can see as a measure for lake clarity, while other pollution or water degradation factors are measured in a more scientific manner and are harder for the general public to envision.
The study showed Ten Mile Lake between Walker and Hackensack to have the best water clarity of lakes studied. It has 22 feet of clarity.
A loss of one meter of clarity on Ten Mile could cause a loss of $6,000 per land parcel value, he said.
Two other factors Welle found to affect property values are the size of a lake, with larger being more desirable, and proximity to a major area city such as Brainerd. He found property values in the region highest on Gull Lake, followed by Bay, Pelican, Bemidji and Ten Mile.
People who can make a difference in future lake clarity include lakeshore property owners, residents who use the lakes, tourists who spend an average of $1,000 per party visiting the area and non-users who attach stewardship values to lakes.
He said property buyers prefer the manicured lawns, which are most likely to cause pollution and degrade lake quality and clarity, to land left in a more natural state.
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