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DNR's Radomski talks about lake conservation

Lake scientist Paul Radomski speaking about lake conservation at the Brown Bag Author Series June 15 at the Brainerd Public Library.

Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) lake scientist Paul Radomski shared lake conservation information at a talk Monday, June 15, at the Brainerd Public Library.

Radomski, also an author, focuses a lot of his attention on area lakes. He has been working on shoreland development management for over 25 years. He is the author of the book "Lakeshore Living" with co-author Kristof Van Assche. The book features many photos from local photographers of wildlife and insight from DNR officers on what can be done to help shorelines.

Radomski shared information the DNR has gathered about the state of the lakes. Topics covered included invasive species, sewer impact, alternative water and sewage treatment systems, history of Minnesota lakes and ways people can make a difference.

"Many places today are left with the infrastructures we designed long ago," Radomski said.

Stormwater ponds were a main point of contention. A stormwater pond is designed to collect and retain urban stormwater. The downside of doing this is that they also retain sediments and other materials that can be detrimental to the surrounding areas.

Radomski talked about how Bemidji uses a direct drainage system into Lake Bemidji. This allows for untreated stormwater to flow into the lake, to which he asked, "Do they really value Lake Bemidji, or not?" The untreated water leads to overfed vegetation in lakes as well as pollution that gets washed in with the rain.

"If you change something in a lake, you can't go back to the previous state that it once had," Radomski said. "This is what I call the 'Humpty Dumpty Effect.'"

While he admits reverting to a previous state is impossible, he provided ways to move forward and make the lakes better than before.

The presentation sparked questions from the crowd. Ruth Gogolin asked Radomski about his monitoring of the Mississippi River. Radomski explained how much the DNR depends on the public to preserve the quality of the Mississippi River.

He was also asked how the Clean Water Act has impacted lakes.

"There was untreated sewage going into lakes, and you can still see the consequences of that on the lakes," Radomski said. "It probably had more impact on streams, because a lot of times, dilution was the solution where people would flush it further down the stream so they wouldn't have to worry about it."

Radomski was impressed with the 28-person turnout Monday. "There were some great questions, which also usually indicates that people were listening and are interested in the topic, which is nice to see," he said.

To purchase Radomski's book, "Lakeshore Living," or read his monthly blog, visit paulradomski.com.

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