To celebrate the conclusion of the shoreland standards development process, a diverse group of resort owners, local and county officials, DNR staff, conservation group representatives, lake association leaders, developers and environmentalists met in Brainerd on Dec. 12.
The Shoreland Management Advisory Committee has produced recommended alternative shoreland management standards. The state, primarily through the DNR, facilitated the productive public participation process. Now it's up to local communities or county boards to decide which, if any, of the alternative standards local governments will adopt.
An early sign of success is that some counties adopted the uniform language the committee was drafting before its work was concluded. And the Congress of Minnesota Resorts and the Resort and Campground Association praised the process and the committee's recommended standards for resorts.
"This is a great example," DNR Commissioner Gene Merriam said, "of how local governments, state agencies and public and private partners can work together cooperatively for the good of the resource, the benefits to local economies, and the health and well-being of the people who rely on Minnesota's world class natural resources."
The 34-member Shoreland Management Advisory Committee is part of the North Central Minnesota Lakes project, which covers Aitkin, Cass, Crow Wing, Hubbard and Itasca counties. The rapid growth rate and increasing development in these counties are negatively impacting water quality and habitat. Lakes provide economic stimulus to the area. Because of the popularity of area lakes, development will occur. However, project participants believe development is possible without jeopardizing the natural resources, including the lakes that bring people to the area.
The pilot project steering team includes representatives from local government units, nongovernmental organizations, local interest groups, citizens and educators. There are also technical advisors from state and local agencies who advised participants on lake-related statutes, rules, programs and information.
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