August 31, 2006
By Tom Conroy, Minnesota DNR
You can't buy a hammer these days without a warning saying you
shouldn't pound your head with it. And products may actually be less
safe now because nobody bothers to read the warnings anymore.
This is just one indication of information overload. We receive so
much information that we find it increasingly difficult to make a
decision or remain informed about a topic. It used to be that more
information was always a good thing. Now, the ability to collect and
disseminate information has surpassed our ability to process and
A good example of this came across my desk the other day in the form
of an e-mail from a DNR Fisheries habitat specialist. It had to do
with people who have lakeshore property on three lakes in Kandiyohi
County. These folks, it seems, may be suffering from information
overload when it comes to what is good and what is bad for a lake.
The fisheries specialist explained that she was out checking
vegetation growth on these lakes. What she discovered astonished
her. On those three lakes alone, she found a total of 26 weed
rollers in use. Of those, 15 were operating without a permit. And,
of the 11 that did have permits, three were not operating according
to permit conditions.
For purposes of clarification, weedrollers remove vegetation in
lakes. Some people refer to this vegetation as "weeds." They don't
like "weeds" because they can interfere with swimming and boating
activities. So, they want to get rid of the "weeds," sometimes
There is a wealth of information out there about why "weeds" are so
important to a lake's water quality and to fish and wildlife. The
DNR web site alone devotes pages of information to this topic. Maybe
that's part of the problem. Maybe there is so much information about
this subject that people get lost in the maze and never get the key
If you want to be heard and understood, keep in mind that the more
you say, the more people tune out your message. So, in hopes that
the message here gets through to at least a few readers, I'll be
Aquatic plants (weeds in water) are essential if you want your lake
to have good water quality.
Fish and other water-loving critters are dependent upon aquatic
The bottom line is this. If you want clean water and good fishing in
your lake, leave the "weeds" alone.
(Oh, one other thing. If you're still mowing right down to the very
edge of the lake or stream, you are helping degrade the quality of
Enough said, for now?