From WATERWORKS, an outdoors column by Gordon Prickett for the February 1st Aitkin Independent Age
News from the state’s Outdoor Heritage Fund, also referred to as "Lessard-Sams," has included a project for the protection of more than a hundred shallow wild rice lakes across eight north-central Minnesota counties, including Aitkin. We know that there is a lot of pretty good wild rice in the county, and that quite a few folks harvest and process it locally. But until this project got developed and approved in St. Paul, I wasn’t aware of which lakes were important to our rice gatherers.
Shoreline protection will be acquired by means of voluntary land preservation agreements. Ownership will be retained by private land owners, but the development rights will be restricted, in exchange for payments of 60 percent of the estimated market value of each parcel around the wild rice lakes.
We have 17 lakes eligible for this project, according to DNR-Wildlife. The list includes these lakes:
Flowage, Mallard, Moose, Moose River Pool, Mud (01-0194), Newstrom,
Rat House, Rice (01-0005), Rock, Sandy River, Section Ten, Shovel, Sjodin,
Spruce (01-0151), Twenty, Waukenabo, and White Elk.
Watch for a news release about how to participate in this 2012 conservation project.
MORE ABOUT INVASIVE SPECIES
If you traveled the lake country in Minnesota last year you were sure to see billboards and public messages about "Stopping Aquatic Hitchhikers!" with red octagons. A new law was passed and went into effect July 1st (just as the government was shutting down for three weeks). A vigorous lobbying campaign had helped to write the law, intended to prevent the transport of aquatic invasive species - by trailered boats, bait buckets, moving boat lifts and docks.
Now in 2012, all "lake service providers" who repair boats, install and move docks and boat lifts commercially, will need certification and training in identifying aquatic invasive species and in all the required actions for their prevention.
Plan now to attend the Aitkin Area Rivers and Lakes Fair at Rippleside School in Aitkin, on Saturday, June 16th, for an up-to-date briefing on the threats and new rules concerning Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) in all forms.