Sunday, February 22, 2009

D.N.R.'s "Questions of the Week" aka "Putting the Skier before the Boat"

The Private Structures Advisory Group has been asked by the D.N.R. to respond to the first in a series of "Questions of the Week". While under some circumstances, this might prove to be a useful tool to identify areas of agreement (and disagreement) among Group members, I have serious concerns about the timing of posing these questions and expecting meaningful responses.

As I indicated last week, we have yet to see the proposed Statement of Need and Reasonableness (SONAR) required to justify any rule-making. Answering the Questions of the Week outside of the context of a SONAR makes little sense to me.

Here are the questions.

1. How much shoreline width do people need to impact in order to have their dock, lift, swim areas, aquatic impact management areas, etc?

2. Should it be a percentage of shoreline owned; with a minimum and/or maximum? Other suggestions?

3. Should the impacted space be continuous? If not necessarily continuous, should they be of equal width within the total percentage allowed?

4. How would the width be measured (would it measure across the altered shoreline and/or altered aquatic vegetation area? from dock edge to lift edge? Would maneuvering room be included?)

Here's the problem. The answers to the questions depend entirely on the goals sought to be achieved by new rules and the goals should depend on the need to make changes in current rules. Without a SONAR, the responses to the Questions of the Week could amount to nothing more than irrelevant opinions. For example, the answers to the questions should be dramatically different depending on whether rules are needed to (i.) maintain the status quo with respect to aggregate human impact on aquatic plant life and fish or (ii.) return all lakes in the State of Minnesota to wilderness status in order to protect the biological environments. Also, since the "R" in SONAR stands for "reasonableness", it is impossible to determine the reasonableness of a proposed rule independently of knowing what the goal is trying to achieve.

There is no need for me to suffer alone in trying to respond to the Questions of the week. PLEASE take the time to give me your thoughts on the Questions of the Week by clicking the link at the end of this paragraph. I will make sure P.O.P.U.L.A.R. members' responses are incorporated into my official response. Because of the deadline to respond by 4:00 p.m. on Wednesday, February 25, I need your input on our survey by 10:00 a.m. on the 25th. Click here to take the survey.

Thanks for your support.


Anonymous said...

How can this be serious? Take for example Question 4.

Q.4 How would the width be measured (would it measure across the altered shoreline and/or altered aquatic vegetation area? from dock edge to lift edge? Would maneuvering room be included?)

If this is a public waters issue. How can they ask this? We as minnesotans are allowed to maneuver our boats anywhere we want on "public waters"(unless otherwise marked). Is the DNR really going to try to dictate how much maneuvering you can do in front of your own property.

Altered shoreline??? What does the DNR mean by that?

for the people that will say I am taking this out of context. (DNR staff and radical activists). I am not. I am taking it as I read it, literally. It is too bad I have come to expect languge like this.

Chris Helsene

An insider on your side said...

If you think you have problems with the DNR management philosophy now... you ain't seen nothing yet! Last week, the DNR's Commissioner announced that they are going to merge the Division of Waters (they do the structure permits) and the Division of Ecological Services (they do the exotic species and plant management permits) into a SINGLE operating Division. Guess which "special interests" will carry the most weight in this new Division?

We've got a LOT more to worry about than just revisions of dock rules. You can bet this new Division will be much more aggressive in promoting "environmental" issues over "property rights" issues.

The worst part is that the Legislature has nothing to say about an internal DNR reorganiztion. Only the DNR Commissioner and the Governor control this process. It sure looks like the "radical activists" have found a new way to deal with the issues... they'll put their people in charge of the laws.

Go get'em Sam!

Anonymous said...

This is really goofy. They have gone beyond the basic question of whether or not rules are needed or that rules need to be changed and are asking questions that already assume the rules have been enacted or need to be changed in the first place. Reminds me of the old story about the guy that asks the lady if she will sleep with him for a million dollars-thousand dollars-hundred-then ten bucks. When she says no to the 10 bucks after saying yes to the others, the guy says we already know what you are-now we're just haggling over the price. This is an old negotiation ploy. Negotiate the details even though the main issue hasn't been settled yet. I refuse to do it...