The annual meeting for the Red Wing Wildlife League got interesting last Wednesday evening, Feb. 12, when the subject of shoreline erosion became a resolution to do something about it.

The loss of over 60 feet of shoreline in 20 years was a wake-up call to members and boaters alike. The riverine landscape is changing, but not in a good way. Persistent high water is compounding the erosive effects from the wake of large pleasure-craft that may not even know how damaging their wake can be during high water.

Environmentalists and longtime Wildlife League members have sounded an alarm that the tree-line is almost gone on the Wildlife League property and there is nothing to hold back the destructive erosion. This is happening on both sides of the Mississippi River.

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Scientific data published by local Minnesota Department of Natural Resources researcher Scot Johnson clearly explains what is going on. The wake from large pleasure-craft, especially during high water, is pounding the shoreline. The result is shoreline erosion and turbidity that ends up filling in Lake Pepin.

County Commissioner and anti-erosion advocate Paul Drotos described this kind of shoreline erosion as “bank robbing” and said that it needs to stop.

Wildlife League Secretary Brian Schmidt introduced a resolution to the membership to follow the lead of the St. Croix River during high water and limit the speed and destructive capability of pleasure craft during high water.

The resolution to start addressing shoreline erosion on both sides of the river from U.S. Lock & Dam No. 3 to Bay Point Park was unanimously passed by the RWWL membership. This begins the process of listening to stakeholders and learning the best ways to correct the problem. It also meshes nicely with the new Minnesota DNR program: “Own your wake, for everyone’s sake!”

Ken “Jug” Johnson and Mike Schmidt

Red Wing