A Waterworks column by Gordon Prickett for the 8/6/2014 Aitkin Independent Age.
As my canoe rolls in the wake of a wake boarder, I turn to stay upright, and begin pitching in the waves. Now I remember the fun we used to have as teenagers at a lake cabin behind a fast boat on water skis. On a summer weekend paddling a canoe or kayak is best done in the early morning.
Boaters here have been pretty good at practicing courtesy, looking out for small craft and the loons. One of our nesting pairs had a successful hatch this summer, and their two juvenile loons are now getting diving lessons so they can soon feed themselves.
STATE FUNDING FOR AQUATIC INVASIVE SPECIES (AIS)
The state legislature has appropriated funds for combating invasive species, and the money became available starting this July. For Aitkin County over $120,000 is available in the first year, and more than $270,000 may be granted in following years. Local units of government need to forward requests for this project money, and they will be the fiscal agents.
In Aitkin County the Soil and Water Conservation District and the Environmental Services Department are the key places where we can go for assistance with invasives in our lakes and rivers.
Project ideas for prevention and education about aquatic invasive species, such as zebra mussels and curly leaf pondweed, will be welcomed, as well as treatment projects when and where they are discovered. Portable boat washing stations are a possibility.
ELECTIONS ARE COMING
With the Primary on August 12th and the General Election November 4th, there is no better time than right now to seek out the candidates and incumbents with your questions and opinions. Within one block of the downtown stoplight in Aitkin the two major political parties can be found in their temporary offices. Just look for all the signs in their windows. This is the best time to raise your most important issue with the candidates and their volunteers - when they are looking to meet and talk with voters.
Here is my issue list for starters: clean water, good jobs here, copper-nickel-platinum mining exploration, the Sandpiper Pipeline Project by Enbridge Energy, rail haulage of coal and crude oil and the danger of derailments, the safety of oil and gasoline trucks on our highways and bridges.
As we consider America becoming independent of fossil fuels from overseas, a major question for me as I fill my propane tank and gas up my boat motor, lawn mower, and vehicles, is how do we increase the safety of producing and moving this petroleum product?