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Scott M

Shoreline Structures Survey: MN Boat Users Input Needed

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For the first time, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is asking all owners of registered watercraft to take an online survey to express their opinions about structures such as docks, boatlifts, and platforms in the state's lakes, rivers and streams.

January 19, 2009 is the deadline for completing the survey. Survey results will be available online shortly after the January 19 deadline.

People who cannot access the survey electronically and would like to participate can call 651-259-5700 to request a paper copy. Those who do not own a watercraft but wish to express their opinion are invited to send comments via e-mail to structures@dnr.state.mn.us or mail your comments to Docks and Structures Survey, DNR, 500 Lafayette Rd., St. Paul 55155, by the January 19 deadline.

The legislature passed a bill last spring requiring the DNR to update rules and permit requirements on structures allowed in public waters by January 15, 2010. This survey is part of the information gathering process.

The DNR will name members for an advisory committee before the end of the year to provide input and review drafts of the rules revisions. A period for public comments and a public hearing on the proposed rules will take place in 2009.

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This is a great chance for anglers to have their input heard on docks and structures. While many panfish and bass anglers love to pitch jigs under docks come summer time, the truth is having an overabundance of structures (and having too large of structures!) on a lake or stream is unsightly, is destroying fish habitat, and DOES CONTRIBUE to decreased fishing quality. Make your voice heard before the pleasure boaters, party crowds, and jet skiers overtake the anglers. Answer the survey, contact the DNR, and let them know you are in favor of tightening restrictions on permitting and rules regarding structures on PUBLIC waters.

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Filled out, too bad our property is in Wisconsin. The bigger problem is people landscaping the shoreline on our lake, everyone is pretty good about having reasonably sized docks. Then again there are no resorts or extremely wealthy landowners on the lake, it's very blue collar so to speak.

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Got the card in the mail and just finished filling it out online. Made sure to mention in the comments box at the end that I felt shoreline landscaping and fertilizing was a much bigger problem for water quality that any square footage regulation for docks.

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Yes and no, Ebiz. Docks shade the area and this can reduce plant growth. Some docks and protruding structures are quite large. Of course, it's probably safe to say that many of those also are more likely to be engaged in heavy fertilizing and landscaping along with their structure.

Bob

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Agree with Ebiz and Vanh. Shoreline standards / enforcement could have a larger impact than proposed dock/structure regulation.

I did fill out the online survey. Most people I know put out reasonable dock structures. For me it's more of a visual thing. Most of it is common sense though. Example, 50 feet of shoreline and 40+ of it is taken up by docks & 3 boat/PWC lifts?

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I think it is fair to allow room for three boats, I can see a need for a pontoon boat, a fishing boat, and a ski boat. I also like to see room for a guest to pull up.

What about yahts? Do the lakes or pieces of property whos size allows for bigger boats have the same rules as small metro lakes?

Most canadian shield lakes have no beaching opportunity, nor are all lot sizes or boats the same size. What's a boater with a fifty foot Gibson houseboat supposed to do on Tonka or Crane? So, a one rule for the whole state doesn't make sense to me.

I also think, I would rather see three families or generations using one big dock complex than three seperate docks with smaller limits.

This is a very complicated issue, as are most public/vs private land issues. I am glad to see that our input is being saught but am fearfull of statewide regulation. Hans

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I beleive docks should be regulated. Our little township on the St.croix owns the property, or shoreline, and the rights to distibute docks to the locals. Docks only have to be 50 ft apart. All slots are filled and there is a waiting list. It looks like a marina down there. I use to be able to walk down to the river and enjoy the river without stumbling on dock not any more. I feel sorry for Wisconsin being they have to look at it.

And all this time I thought the St Croix was a protected National scenic riverway. What a joke.

I dont think the DNR knows what they are doing on this subject.

Heck they wont let our city put a private launch for the city in so we can get rid of the docks. Are they tyring to protect the marinas and pay docks or what.

Yes I could have put a dock out there for my boat and I said no.

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I think we need to educate people that they own (and pay taxes on) the dry land property. All water and all other use is a priveleged use of public domain. I have been disappointed in the DNR, seems they are more concerned about continued economic development of water resources than they are of protecting them. I am sure it is due to pressures from the legislature to do so. One option might be to add fees for extra docks above basic needs. If you think you need to have boat/pontoon/jetski, pony up some fees to pay for the lakeshore cops.

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Mlaker, I agree with you, Hans says fishing boat, ski boat pontoon, wetskis, how add a swim platform. If a guy can aford all the toys, he shouldn't mind a fee for keeping his toys on the lake. I have seen more and more of the inflatable platforms on area lakes. The thing that get me is they don't meet minesota boaters guide lines.

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Seems to me we have enough regulation of our private property.

People who live on a lake pay a very high premium for the land, and again for the taxes EVERY YEAR. They should be entitled to use the water they live on within reason. I can't see how it's unreasonable for them to want dock space to fit their various boats -- pontoon, ski boat, fishing boat, and personal watercraft (probably multiple). I remember the good old days...when this was a free country.

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While 99% of my time on the water is fishing, I remind myself that it is public water. Waterskiers, jetskis, and pleasure boats have just as much right to be on the water as my fishing boat. So I don't buy into public waters being taken over by them. If we can do away with those, then the same could happen to your fishing boat.

If you have multiple watercraft then you'll pay to have each one registered and licensed. Why should there be another fee on top of this?

If you own lake shore you'll be paying higher taxes without a doubt.

Back to the topic. Are docks or structures sizes a problem.

Not in my area or on the waters I fish. I've yet to see anything above and beyond what it takes to tie a boat up to and or get into water deep enough to float a boat. Most are pretty spartan. I'm lucky in that we have a lot of lakes where there is only partial to very little or no development. Some lakes the only dock is the one at the public access. It is nice to have that dock there for unloading and loading the boat and passengers. Still, I'm sure there are docks out there that go above and beyond what it takes to tie up a boat. I haven't taken the survey yet, I'll have to get the registration numbers off 5 or 6 watercraft first. Do I get to vote more then once. smile

I'm afraid we'll have some that take this survey that will be against all docks for the only reason, they don't have lake property to put a dock on. The have against the have not. Just one more thing that "Sportsmen" will find to divide themselves on. Next it'll be, are outboards larger then 25 hp taking away from your experience on the water?

Someone mentioned fertilizer and lake shore. I believe runoff and manicured lake shores are more of a threat to lakes. If your a lakeshore owner you'll have a direct impact, or not depending on your practices. Lets not forget runoff from your yards miles away from any lake. One way or another its making it way into a lake or ground water.

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Someone mentioned fertilizer and lake shore. I believe runoff and manicured lake shores are more of a threat to lakes. If your a lakeshore owner you'll have a direct impact, or not depending on your practices. Lets not forget runoff from your yards miles away from any lake. One way or another its making it way into a lake or ground water.

Well Said! Lets not forget the farms that spread [PoorWordUsage]-[PoorWordUsage] on frozen ground and then it rains.

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Surface Tension, thanks for well thought post.

The dock issue IMHO isn't the normal lake shore owner with a L or T dock, or with a pontoon AND a fish/ski boat. It is the patio type HUGE platform with patio furniture sets on them, and also the people with marginal shoreline extending looooooooooooooooooooong docks to get past cattails etc to get to water (look at Mntonka in the bays). Or it might also be about the associations of people who don't want to pay high taxes to be "on the water" so they buy off the water in associations and hten put up the huge piers and dock about 50 boats off of those.

Jigginjim, it is where the floating platforms are placed and also at what times of day/night that says if they meet the boating guidelines, I believe, as I studied up on them before i bought one - though now don't use it cause it was a PITA wink.

We pay high premiums for the land that is adjacent to the water, so in effect we are paying much more to be on the water. That doesn't give us more rights to the water, IMO, but it should allow me to put a legal dock into the lake, which I certainly do.

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Regulation of Docks is not regulating your private property. In minnesota the lake is public property and your dock is located mostly on the public's property. So if the public wants you to be reasonable about how much of the Public's property you obstruct they can do that.

Look at Waters of Vermilion. They developed a few hundred feet of lakeshore with like 40 dwelling sites and dock space for a few boats. (the idea was boats would be stored at a marina with valet boat parking) The sites didn't sell and they came back and wanted to put in dockage for 40 or 50 boats and a trailer parking lot.

How many boat lifts and square feet of dock is too much?

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Seems to me we have enough regulation of our private property.

People who live on a lake pay a very high premium for the land, and again for the taxes EVERY YEAR. They should be entitled to use the water they live on within reason. I can't see how it's unreasonable for them to want dock space to fit their various boats -- pontoon, ski boat, fishing boat, and personal watercraft (probably multiple). I remember the good old days...when this was a free country.

There are certain riparian rights that lakeshore owners maintain. They do pay high taxes, but remember too that lakeshore and wetland property is some of the most ecologically sensitive property in the entire state. There should be a higher level of maintenance, management, due diligence, and enforcement to protect the public good.

Another point, 'reasonable' use is in the eye of the beholder. Should a person be able to dock four boats in public waters as an example of reasonable use? The water is still a public resource, so in my opinion if you have four boats, you can trailer the two that get the least amount of use and drop them in the lake at the public access if you feel the need to use them. I just don't think the public should lose access to a significant portion of the water's surface because a landowner can cover 4,5,6,etc. boat stalls. Take a closer look and its a socioeconomic fight of the haves versus the have-nots. For now I gotta side with the greater good. It's a tragedy of the commons...everybody does it in small doses and we collectively ruin it for all.

I remember when it was a free country...free to canoe a shoreline without having to weave between 70 foot docks with hot tubs and barbecue sets, free to pitch bass jigs into a mix of woody cover and lilypads until all the downed trees and aquatic vegetation habitats were removed to make way for sandy swimming beaches and weed rollers, and free to view water's edge landscapes where fish and wildlife teemed that are now sterile riprapped beaches with gargantuan docks and water trampolines.

I'm not disagreeing with anyone that substantial improvements could be made regarding enforcement of existing rules, but have you looked at our rules? They are toothless or wide open letting people do whatever they'd like. I'm all about individual freedoms until you start infringing upon mine...and that's exactly what I see when your dock is sticking 70 feet out into the lake.

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I like what you are saying. Imagine how it would go over if someone decided to build a small shack with a jacuzzi, deck, gazeebo, etc. just any old place on public property.

Bob

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The problem is not just with docks, but the "development" around them.

I say raise taxes on all people with developed lake shore that are killing our lakes. Lower the taxes for people who leave it natural.

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I did not know docks are causeing so many problems. I know some are too big and high density housing on lakes and the associated dock spaces causes issues. I do think it is a good idea to review the laws and make appropriate changes but most people have a reasonable dock.

In defense of the lake shore owners - all I know (including myself) take very good care of the lakes (including the one they own land on).

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I did not know docks are causeing so many

In defense of the lake shore owners - all I know (including myself) take very good care of the lakes (including the one they own land on).

Unfortunately wayne many lakeshore owners THINK they are doing good to the lake by keeping their properties TOO groomed.

I'm a lake owner 3 lots on two lakes and get the question ALWAYS why dont you clean this up you could have a beautiful lot here.

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The problem is not just with docks, but the "development" around them.

I say raise taxes on all people with developed lake shore that are killing our lakes. Lower the taxes for people who leave it natural.

Thats to subjective to work. There is no way to say what is natural, what is developed and when the line is crossed.

Dont just look at the shoreline for problems, weekend boaters practically ruined Coon Lake (Anoka). When I was a wee lad (as recent as 5-7 years ago) there was no Eurasian Milfoil and a healthy supply of clams, fishing was peaking with catches of 5+ lb bass and northern. Then boat traffic really picked up now Milfoil covers most of the lake, all the clams have died and I catch small bass and a rare healthy northern. Shoreline has been virtually unchanged for the duration of the fishery's changes. Sorry if this is way off topic.

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Tongue in cheek here, going from metro fishermans thoughts a bit farther, maybe the boaters should pay even higher tax and be restricted even more, and maybe it is not the laksehore owners who are evil wink Because the lakeshore owners don't pull their boats in and out of accesses all year long, transporting exotics to the lake via half filled livewells and trailers with milfoil hanging from them. Therefore dropping the value of the lakeshore owners "land".

But I agree metro fisherman, it is very subjective and there are many things that can hurt a lake, some of it none of us right now might even know about.

But back on track, there does need to be enforcement of the dock rules we have now, not adding even more that will then be ignored. I even talked about the dock issue at the sportsmans show last year to a DNR shoreline restoration guy. I told him my dock size (4x32), and he laughed, and said I have nothing to worry about smile

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