Thursday, March 5, 2015


WATERWORKS by Gordon Prickett   A column for the 3/4/2015 Aitkin Independent Age


About eight years ago money was available to protect the waters in the Big Sandy Watershed. State agencies were funding personnel and publications with an interest in teaching residents along the shorelines how to care for their land and improve the water quality. A couple thousand copies of the "Shoreland Homeowner’s Guide to Lake Stewardship" were published in 2007, with funding from the state’s Clean Water Partnership Grant Fund, for property owners in the watershed. With extra printed copies of this Guide we have spread this valuable document around to many county lake associations in the years since it first came out.

The Guide gives instructions on how to curb pollution and reduce runoff; how to maintain a natural shoreline, and provides a useful checklist, for new and long-time lake residents, about questions we all have when living on a lake.


This 16-page Guide from 2007 has been completely given out, and it is time for a new revision. Fortunately, there is adequate funding available now from the state, through the Clean Water Legacy Fund, as well as Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) funding. Using these funds Aitkin County can update this Guide and include a new section containing the latest information dealing with invasive species. Lake Association representatives will be cooperating with county officials in Zoning and Soil and Water, to put an updated Shoreland Guide into service in our lake country.


Preserving or restoring a natural shoreline is the best way to keep the shore from eroding. Buffers along the shoreline have these benefits:

Less time spent mowing and more time to enjoy the lake. Attracts birds and butterflies. Enhances the lake view by adding interest, texture, and color. Provides more privacy. Protecting water quality protects real estate value. Taller native plants create a biological barrier to Canada geese. Well-established emergent aquatic plants discourage non-native invasive species.

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