Wednesday, June 27, 2012


from WATERWORKS by Gordon Prickett, an Outdoors Column for the 7/4/2012 Aitkin Independent Age. Everybody’s talking about it. Sandbagging in downtown Aitkin. The Mississippi took four or five days to crest at a level near 1950 records. While a tornado strikes and leaves, flooding continues on for weeks, sometimes months. Emergency service from Aitkin Area road crews and law enforcement has been exceptional during the storms and in the aftermath, and the difficult recovery work will continue for a long time. The dry fall and dry early spring here meant that docks on county lakes were installed at lower elevations than normal. However, heavy rains in May, and a torrential downpour on June 18 and 19 put many docks underwater and many lakes and rivers have reached high water marks not seen in decades. Sections of docks and debris floating in lakes, and even loose watercraft, have brought danger on the water. SLOW THE BOAT DOWN! In this emergency the Aitkin County Board has enacted boating speed limits at the urging of Sheriff Scott Turner. At this writing, all county lakes, North of State Highway 18 and County Road 2, are under a SLOW-NO-WAKE restriction. Boat wakes can cause tremendous shoreland erosion. By observing slow-no-wake speeds, meaning 5 mph or less, the boat’s wave action is reduced and shore damage is prevented. EROSION PREVENTION Driving across the county and cruising the lakes today you see the amazing power that stormwater can deliver. Cutting away banks, gouging out new paths downslope, the water rushes ahead carrying sediment into pools and flushing watersheds into lakes. For years Best Shoreland Practices have taught us to use “Buffer Strips” at the water’s edge. Leaving a 10 to 20 foot “No-Mow Zone” of natural vegetation beside the river and lake, makes a Buffer Strip. The deep plant roots prevent erosion, and the vegetation filters out sediment and contaminants. The result is cleaner water. A much cleaner lake results than if everyone tries to have clipped bluegrass all the way to water. A walking path through the Buffer Strip can provide adequate access to boat and swimming docks. For the rest of the summer, here’s wishing you “Clean Water and Safe Boating.”

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