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Lakes Workshops Lead to Governor’s Recommendations


Panelists Betty Baribeau (Culberts Missabe Appraisal Service), Mike Forsman (St. Louis County Commissioner), and Phil Serrin (Cook County Coalition of Lake Associations) get ready to discuss economic factors that influence lakeshore development during the “Treasures Under Pressure” workshop in Duluth.

In late 1997, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) asked Sea Grant to help assess public opinion on the future of northeastern Minnesota lakes, both by holding workshops and conducting a survey. The DNR (Region 2) and other local and state agencies were interested in finding out what could be done to prevent degradation of lakes before large and costly efforts had to be made to restore them.

The workshops, “Treasures Under Pressure: The Future of Northeastern Minnesota Lakes,” were held in July and early September in Hibbing, Duluth, and Grand Rapids. A total of 250 people provided input on what they thought were some of the problems with the area’s “blue gems” and how those problems might be solved in the future.

Attending were lakeshore residents, concerned citizens, local government representatives, and state agency personnel, including key staff in charge of crafting lakes recommendations for former Minnesota Governor Arne Carlson. The September workshops began with a keynote speaker, Bob Korth, from the University of Wisconsin, talking about similar issues in Wisconsin and how shoreland management is being handled. During his luncheon presentation, Sam Cook, outdoors reporter with the Duluth News-Tribune provided insight into what makes northeastern Minnesota lakes special.

The workshops focused on getting input from people about lake issues and what they think should be done. Attendees were divided into groups that centered around the topics of economics, water and habitat quality, quality of life and recreation, and the role of government.

Sea Grant is now tabulating the information from the issue groups and will have a report available soon. Comments from local citizens at the workshops and the data from the lakes survey (see Why Love Lakes? in this Seiche) helped state agency staff craft the Governor’s lakes recommendations.


Outdoors reporter, Sam Cook (right), discusses good fishing spots with Cheryl Larson (Schultz Lake Association), and Julie and Roger Cooper.

The recommendations consist of a $37 million package that provides assistance to the local governments, calls for a lakes Generic Environmental Impact Statement, and provides more funding for lakeshore education and a few more agency positions to handle the influx of work that will be mainly controlled by local governments. These recommendations, recently announced by former Governor Carlson, still have a long way to go before they get funded. The legislature has yet to see the proposal and incorporate it into their budget plan.

If you want additional information about the lake recommendations, contact Gaylen Reetz at the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, 651.296.8856, or Jack Skrypek at the DNR, 651.296.0792.

By Sea Grant Staff
December 1998

Return to December 1998 Seiche

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