Apparently, the DNR "experts" are somewhat clueless about lake life cycles and the effect of uncontrolled plant life in a small lake. This comment, in particular, seemed about as ignorant as anything I've heard in the last 9 years from DNR bureaucrats, "water lilies, a native plant that provides wildlife habitat and water quality benefits. Healthy populations of native aquatic plants are integral to the ecological health of our lakes, but they can also hinder recreation, particularly if they are abundant on the lake's surface. The DNR's APM program tries to balance the protection of aquatic plants with the need for lake shore residents to gain recreational access to the water. " The plant is certainly "native" to our part of North America but anyone capable of walking to the lake shore would see that the infestation of plants in our lake is as far from a "healthy population" as is possible.
I'd love to know how the DNR's bureaucratic inactivity could be described as any sort of "program." As far as I can see, the DNR's sole purpose is to burn its budget without any useful benefit to taxpayers. Clearly, Mr. Hirsch has never set foot any where near Savage Lake, east or west or he is severely impaired in many ways.
Here is the text of a communication between our state representative, Bev Scalze, and the DNR commissioner's office. I was particularly heartened by her impassioned, direct approach to getting the DNR off of it's collective butt:
From: Bev Scalze [mailto: Rep.Bev.Scalze@house.mn]
Sent: Sunday, August 29, 2010 12:22 PM
Cc: firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; Bob.Meier@state.mn.us; Kathy.Anderson@state.mn.us; Mark.Holsten@state.mn.us; Sean.Sisler@state.mn.us
Subject: Re: Savage Lake aquatic plant control issues
Thanks for sending the e-mail message.
However, the information that you relayed was information that had already been communicated by the City Administrator of Little Canada, Joel Hanson, and by Sean Sisler.
I would be glad to give you a tour of the area in question, or you may be able to view it on DNR maps prior to 1959 in comparison with the present day maps.
There is a freeway (35E) that bisected the 30-acre Savage Lake in 1959. It now has expanded to 10 lanes of asphalt with on/off ramps at Little Canada Road. The freeway has polluted the lake, and has also contributed to the decreased depth of Savage Lake with runoff. Now the DNR calls the water bodies west Savage Lake and east Savage Lake, which are considerably smaller because of the freeway. The lakeshore property owners, some of whom have lived there for 73 years, have suffered immense damages because of actions of the State of Minnesota and the Federal Government. The DNR Division of Waters should be more interested in the expansion of 35E which occurred in 2009-10 than they are with this current eradication permit request. Was there a DNR permit granted for the expansion? I would like to see a copy of that to compare with the current permit request from the City of Little Canada on behalf of the property owners.
The problem at Savage Lake regarding the denial by Mr. Sisler of the water lily eradication permit applications, is that there could be "anticipated" use that may not be visible to Mr. Sisler from some points of the lakeshore. A lakeshore property owner could have a canoe in a garage, or could possibly have friends or family that would like to bring over a canoe to the lakeshore property and use it for recreational purposes. A lakeshore property owner should not be required to petition Mr. Sisler with photographs and abstracts of their property. That is a very "heavy handed" DNR approach to the situation. The property owners have rights, and Mr. Sisler, or anyone else in his capacity, should not interfere with those rights to limited recreational use of their property. The property owners haven't been asking for clearing out all of the invasive lilies, nor are they asking to eradicate vegetation that helps the health of Savage Lake. To insinuate that they want to interfere with "healthy populations of native aquatic plants integral to the ecological health of the lake" doesn't give much credit to the property owners. They love their lake. They are not asking for long docks to reach open water as some in the state have done recently. They are simply asking for the ability to use their property in a limited recreational manner. Simply put, they are requesting the ability for anticipated access to open water for a canoe, boat or some other legal means. If they could achieve a channel to reach open water, perhaps they could then construct a dock for easier "visible" access. With the current heavy mat of lilies, it doesn't make much sense.
Since 2000, the overgrowth of water lilies has expanded greatly in Savage Lake. They were simply not there before that time in the massive quantities that are they are now. To apply DNR rules for "wildlife habitat and water quality" in a heavy-handed manner in a lake with 10-lanes of asphalt already going through it is simply ridiculous. The DNR's APM program should take into consideration the impact of the freeway on the property owner's recreational use of the lake, and allow these few residents some small amount of consideration and peace as they put up with the noise and pollution created by the State of Minnesota. To simply deny a permit for a channel through the expanding aquatic plants based upon "visible" recreational use is arbitrary at best. The most visible use of Savage Lake is the continuing harm of 10 lanes of asphalt, and that should not trump the rights of anticipated recreational use by lakeshore property owners.
If legislation would help in your consideration of these extreme situations, I would be glad to work with you on that level. Sometimes statewide "rules" are not fair to severely impacted metro property owners because of 10-lanes of asphalt in their lake, and exceptions are in order.
Please contact me with possible corrections to this situation.
State Representative, 54B
357 State Office Building
100 Rev Dr Martin Luther King Jr Blvd
St. Paul MN 55155
From: "Hirsch, Steve A (DNR)" 08/27/10 1:37 PM
Dear Representative Scalze:
Commissioner Holsten forwarded to me your August 24, 2010 email regarding aquatic plant management (APM) issues on Savage Lake. As you know, APM issues can be contentious and I am sorry this one has caused problems for your constituents. I hope you find the following information helpful.
The APM permit request for Savage Lake was to control water lilies, a native plant that provides wildlife habitat and water quality benefits. Healthy populations of native aquatic plants are integral to the ecological health of our lakes, but they can also hinder recreation, particularly if they are abundant on the lake's surface. The DNR's APM program tries to balance the protection of aquatic plants with the need for lake shore residents to gain recreational access to the water.
Savage Lake residents were permitted to control 3 acres of water lilies and to clear channels from their shoreline to the open water area. Apparently, some channels were denied because there was no evidence of recreational use along the shoreline. Our APM specialist who did the inspection was very liberal in determining evidence of recreational use; anyone with a dock, boat, canoe, kayak, or paddle boat was authorized a permit. One individual, who did not have a boat on the water, sent a picture of their boat with current registration and the permit was amended within a couple of days to allow a channel for that person. If there are other people in a similar situation, we would certainly be willing to amend the permit for them as well. These folks should contact Sean Sisler (651-259-5807; firstname.lastname@example.org) if they wish to amend the permit.
You also expressed concern with the amount of time it took for Savage Lake residents to receive their APM permit, indicating that there was more than a 30-day lag time. In checking with APM staff, however, I learned that DNR received the permit application on July 21 and mailed out the permit two weeks later on August 5. This seems like a reasonable turn-around time, especially since this was a new permit requiring a field inspection prior to issuance.
I hope that this has helped to address your concerns. Please let me know if you need additional information.
Steve Hirsch, Director
Division of Ecological Resources