Letter to the Chanhassen City Council and Mayor Furlong on AIS Prevention in Chanhassen’s Lakes

Dear Chanhassen City Council and Mayor Furlong

I am sending this letter to ask you to please support an Aquatic Invasive Species prevention plan in our city for 2013 that is effective, boater friendly, and fiscally responsible.  Your current plan is a start but not enough to prevent AIS contamination. I support a plan similar to the one Minneapolis implemented or the one that the Lotus Lake Conservation Association has proposed. Based on past results, it’s clear we can’t rely solely on an educated and conscientious boater to prevent the spread of Zebra Mussels and other AIS. There are many, many of them who are not educated as regards AIS or don’t care. We need to talk to each boater, make sure they understand the rules and comply with them, before they launch a potentially polluted watercraft into one of Chanhassen’s lakes. Once these enter the lakes, there is no remedy to correct them.

Please be aware that there are a tremendous number of citizens watching your action and we hope you will move to the side of preserving our naturally resources in a fiscally responsible but effective way. Many of these same citizens have invested significant time to help in the fight, not just asking for more money but by spending their time freely to educate and inform other citizens. In 2012, Chanhassen resident Scot Lacek and the Lake Minnewashta Preservation Association completed 10 road shows, put up signs and flyers at over 100 nearby businesses and blanketed our area with mailings and emails to get the word out. Read more about it here: http://lakeminnewashta.org/archives/504. We believe this is an excellent example of a citizen’s partnership with their government to address an issue that affects us all.

While you are discussing this issue, we hope you will answer the following questions:

–  Neighboring cities, like Minneapolis and Shorewood, have implemented comprehensive AIS prevention plans, including inspecting all boats.  Why isn’t Chanhassen implementing a comprehensive plan, like Minneapolis and Shorewood?

–  Minneapolis ‘s AIS program is running from ice out to December 1st, but Chanhassen’s is only running from May 24th to September 2nd.  How can this short season of inspections be expected to prevent AIS infestations?

–  Why aren’t lakes Ann, Lotus and Susan being treated the same as the other Chanhassen lakes, Minnewashta and Christmas?  At Lakes Minnewashta and Christmas, 100% of boats are inspected before they enter the water.  Don’t Ann, Lotus and Susan deserve the same treatment as Minnewashta and Christmas?

–  Why not set up an AIS task force as other cities and counties have done?  Or, why not take the plan that Minneapolis has already spent countless hours on and implement a similar plan in Chanhassen?  Or, why not implement the LLCA plan or one similar to it?  Any new plan could be run as a pilot program, and changes could be made as needed as we progress through the boating season.

–  Why has the Environmental Commission not been asked to make a recommendation to the City Council regarding AIS?

–  How can a plan that calls for inspections only three days at week at Lake Ann and Lake Susan really protect those lakes?

–  Why not take the $22,000 that was pledged but not spent in 2012, and roll it into the 2013 program?  That would allow for a significantly better program for 2013.

–  Why has Chanhassen proposed implementing a plan for 2013 that would have failed in 2012?  Last year, a trailer with zebra mussel(s) in weeds on a trailer was stopped at Lotus Lake on September 30th.  The City’s currently proposed program is scheduled to stop on September 2nd.  The threat does not end on Labor Day, so why does the program?

Steve Gunther

President, Lake Minnewashta Preservation Association

 

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