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Cass County: Another emergency declaration for southern Cass in wake of severe storms

Cass County commissioners got a chance to see some of the massive logs piled by homes and roads in the Lake Shore area on their way to their regular board meeting Tuesday night, Aug. 16, at Lake Shore City Hall.

For the second time in two weeks, the board approved a state of local emergency caused by storm damage - this time for an Aug. 4 wind and rain event. It hit most severely in southern Cass County.

Three weeks ago, the board had declared an emergency from the July 21 wind and rain event that hit heavily in central Cass County.

These declarations will enable the county to seek state emergency disaster funding to partially reimburse local governments for costs to reopen and repair roads and bridges and other public infrastructure.

In a public input section of the meeting, Uldis Birznieks, Gull Chain of Lakes Association chair, asked commissioners to vote to either oppose or ask for a four-year moratorium on stocking muskellunge in Gull Lake. Minnesota Department of Natural Resources recently issued a decision to stock muskies annually in Gull Lake for 10 years.

Birznieks said the state House and state Senate each has passed a bill to oppose or delay stocking, but time ran out before the two bills could be combined into a single bill both legislative houses could accept. He said lakes elsewhere in the state, which had been dropped from the DNR stocking program, had the opposition of their county boards.

He showed Gull Lake property owners oppose the stocking 70 percent to 22 percent in surveys circulated.

Association of Cass County Lakes Chair Jerry Lerom also spoke in opposition to stocking muskies in Gull Lake.

Commissioner Dick Downham noted the county board generally does not get involved in issues where the board cannot make the final decision.

Commissioner Neal Gaalswyk also noted the board generally only supports issues where local governments also support the action. The county's affected cities and towns have voted two opposed, two neutral and one supporting on the Gull Lake stocking issue.

The county board tabled action until the next regular board meeting Sept. 6 before voting on the issue in order to view the Senate version of the bill. It called for a four-year moratorium to allow for an independent study of the impact muskie stocking has on other fish species.

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