If we aren't vigilant this is where the YLRA could be headed.
Minneapolis Star Tribune - 1/25/09
The money - first in the state at a lake's public ramps - would be used to keep out invasive species.
By LAURIE BLAKE, Star Tribune
Every boater launching a craft on Lake Minnetonka would pay a ramp fee to have boats inspected for ride-along plants and water life if the Lake Minnetonka Association gets its way.
The group representing lakeshore home and business owners warns in a new report that "several harmful aquatic invasive species are at our doorstep, and Lake Minnetonka is highly exposed to these invaders."
To protect the popular lake, it recommends spending $600,000 a year for a full-time lake manager and inspection program. It offers to provide a quarter of the money, with much of the rest to come from launch fees -- the first in the state at public ramps.
"We have one chance. Prevention is the only logical strategy," said Dick Osgood, association executive director. Osgood envisions fees of $5 to $10, or a larger sum for a season's pass.
There is no known way to rid waters of zebra mussels, spiny water flea, rusty crayfish, Asian carp and Brazilian elodea, all of which have made their way into Minnesota waters, the association says. If spread to Lake Minnetonka, they could hurt fishing, swimming and boating and undermine the economy of the lake community.
The association is already battling some stubborn invasive species: It spent $180,000 last summer for an expansive chemical treatment of Eurasian water milfoil and curly-leaf pondweed in three Lake Minnetonka bays: Carman, Grays and Phelps.
An estimated 100,000 to 200,000 boats a year enter Lake Minnetonka at public launches, and three-fourths of them are not checked for harmful plants and organisms they might bring from other lakes, Osgood said.
Minnesota Department of Natural Resources inspections touch only about a quarter of the boats launched, and focus more on education than physical inspections, Osgood said.
"While many individuals, organizations and agencies care about Lake Minnetonka, we have lacked coordinated leadership," said lake association president Amanda Walsh.