Environmentally, docks by themselves are not harmful to fish populations. In fact, they often help provide all-important overhead cover necessary for fish like largemouth and smallmouth bass, panfish like bluegills and sunfish, and baitfish such as spottail shiners.
In the 50 years we've been at the epicenter of the sportfishing world, we've seen lakes continue to lose shallow-water cover like bulrushes and lily pads. This is primarily due to wave action associated with excessive boat traffic, coupled with poor shoreline development practices. In such instances, docks provide the missing element that fish like largemouth bass require. This is obvious to anyone who truly fishes anywhere in this state.
One might be able to selectively find isolated incidents where docks might have a negative effect. However, on a broad scale, docks (even big ones) have much more of a positive effect than a negative one. Today, popular lakes like Gull, Whitefish, and Minnetonka have huge dock systems, and are loaded with bass-more than ever before!
Experience has shown that propositions like this often have more of a political component, rather than simply the proclaimed purpose of trying to protect or enhance a fishery. If the restriction on docks is aesthetic in nature (which it is), then you must realize that you are sacrificing critical habitat for largemouth bass (and other species) for your personal viewing pleasure. Just don't let the "Nature Fakers" try to tell you there is a strong environmental reason-because there isn't.
East Gull Lake
THE LINDNERS are members of the National Fresh Water Fishing Hall of Fame.
Comment now on Emily EAW
Northern Lights Over Roosevelt Lake is a proposed 48-unit housing development east of Highway 6, between Outing and Emily, with private marina and recreation areas to the west of the highway. Highway 6 is a dangerous highway. Placing 48 homes on one side of that highway with recreation on the other invites disaster.
Emily's city planner had shown his bias by recommending approval of the developer's plat application in favor of Northern Lights, and against the city conducting an environmental study.
Through the petition efforts of 231 Emily-area citizens, Emily ordered an Environmental Assessment Worksheet (EAW) on this proposed development and it is now completed. Notice was published by the State Environmental Quality Board on Nov. 19 and includes 30-days for public comment. The clock is running. Whatever happens to Roosevelt Lake also impacts Outing and sets precedent for Emily's other 22 lakes.
Nonetheless, we must make the effort to comment on the EAW, trusting that Emily's elected leadership will see the dangers threatening the environment and public safety.
Now is the time for the public to be heard. Written comments should be sent before Dec 19 to: City of Emily, P.O. Box 68, Emily, MN 56447.
Among the many public concerns are:
safety issues of pedestrians crossing Highway 6;
liability of the City of Emily;
precedent for off-site riparian rights;
development of fragile lakeshore, all in MnDOT right of way;
destruction of unique fish-spawning areas;
highway construction at Emily taxpayer expense;
concentration of 48 wells and septics.
Local citizens need to have their voices heard by the city leaders who are pledged to follow the ordinances and Comprehensive Plan adopted to protect the environs. Our lakes and forests cannot speak, so we must speak for them.
Please write your letter today!
Donald A. and Mary J. Dee
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