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THE KEYS TO SUCCESSFUL LAKE MANAGEMENT: AN IRREVERENT LOOK AT A SERIOUS TOPIC

Ken Wagner, Ph.D ENSR Willington, CT

Lake management is a highly interdisciplinary field of endeavor; one must have a firm grasp of relevant science, economics and socio-political issues to achieve success. The “standard” approach to successful lake management can be summarized as follows:

  • Set realistic goals

  • Involve all relevant parties

  • Apply sound science

  • Prevention with any rehabilitation

  • Organize, prepare, anticipate

  • Focus and persevere

  • Adequately fund actions

  • Publicize and recognize

  • Monitor and follow up

The above are all key steps, but make for a boring talk. This more humorous and hopefully more memorable presentation summarizes the key elements in terms of openness:

  • Open process – inclusive, fair, comprehensive – everyone needs a seat at the table, no matter how incompatible they may seem with the desires of any other group. The process is educational as well as consensus-building, and all interested parties need to be involved. Illustrations are provided.

  • Open minds – evaluate without prejudice; there is almost always more than one valid position on an issue, and more than one way to solve a problem. Clinging to a view with no consideration for alternatives is a huge stumbling block in most processes. Getting interested parties to see opposing points of view and seek rational compromise or even adopt previously opposed positions is a very daunting task, but is achievable within the right framework.

  • Open lake – private property vs. public opportunity – a very controversial area, the tragedy of the commons is a highly applicable concept to lake management. Private ownership has issues as well, however, as water is not really amenable to treatment as a commodity; ownership is transient and invasive species and related issues make property lines irrelevant in many management contexts.

  • Open checkbook – you get what you pay for, or less – first an most critically, spend the money to get useful and adequate data for making management decisions. Then follow the plan and don’t cut corners to save a few dollars. Consider long-term costs, not just immediate capital outlay.

  • Open ended management – no clear endpoint, follow-up needed – lake management is like landscape management; one-time actions rarely last, and refinement, upkeep, and adjustment are to be expected.

Session 1 – Page 5

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