Letter to the Editor

Two wrongs can never make a right

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

I wish to thank all of the media and concerned citizens in Northwest/North Central Iowa who dedicate their space, time and resources to the defense of the natural glacial lakes of our state, and urge all to maintain a firm opposition to the Shallow Lake Management Plan being foisted upon us by the mismanaged Iowa DNR.

All of the prairie pothole lakes of this formerly glaciated region MUST be dredged to restore them to their original depths for the recreational use of ALL citizens, to reduce the ability of invasive roughfish to encroach upon the natural habitat of our indigenous gamefish species, and to preserve the natural ecology of our region.

Year-round fishing and other water sports are more important to our quality of life and economy than a few weeks of waterfowl hunting in the fall for a few, and must not be subservient to the short-sighted and self-serving desires of single-issue hunting lobbies.

We have absolutely no shortage of waterfowl in Iowa, regardless of the habitat changing from marsh grasses to corn, but we are losing our indigenous gamefish, because of a loss of suitable habitat.

Because fish habitat is below water, we do not see it and we do not immediately realize how serious that loss is, but it threatens our health and entire eco-system.

For the DNR to turn these unique and extremely rare natural wonders into unnatural marshes incapable of supporting their full natural ecology is a stupid and nearly irreversible mistake.

Restoring suitable wetlands is desirable, but to make any wetland that is not connected to a body of water deep enough to support the full compliment of indigenous fish species, year-round, is a foolish waste of precious taxpayer dollars, and is extremely dangerous to all warm-blooded life forms.

Only mosquitoes and disease can be the result of this foolishness.

The DNR is trying to shirk its responsibility to protect all Iowans and the biological balance of our eco-system in favor of a few waterfowl hunters with this ill-advised plan, just because it is cheaper than properly restoring these lakes!

We must stop thinking like troglodytes, only considering the initial costs of dredging!

Treating high organic humate dredge spoil as a waste that must be disposed of in the cheapest way possible is more than slightly retarded. To pile the best top-soil on Earth up 12 feet deep and wait for years to farm it is a terrible waste of a valuable resource.

Dredging could actually be paid for by separating the spoil and marketing the components as washed sands, aggregates, potting soil and top-soil for new construction.

There is no cheap and easy way to rectify the siltation damage done by 150 years of poor farming practices right up to the shores of these beautiful lakes. They must be dredged!

Any wetland restoration must be done around these lakes, not in them!

First, we should dredge silt settling pond areas, kept constantly dredged by wind power, between the marshes and the lakes, then, dredge all the silt out of our lakes to keep our lake bottom substrates clear of rooting carp and suitable for our indigenous gamefish.

Roughfish excluders never work, as, every Spring, waterfowl carry fertilized fish eggs of the most rustic benthic species between bodies of water, constantly restocking the least desirable species, first.

Only restoring the original bottom substrates will restore our clearwater glacial lakes to their pristine natural beauty, high water quality and awesome fisheries productivity!

We must accept nothing less!

Randy Gray

Harlan