STATEHOUSE—State Representative Dick Dodge (R-Pleasant Lake) recently attended the Lake Management Work Group meeting where many pertinent lake related issues were discussed and reviewed. As part of this group, he works toward developing solutions for problems affecting Indiana lakes.
Rep. Dodge is currently serving as the Chairman of the Lake Management Work Group and has been influential in developing ways to better protect Indiana’s lakes as well as the hundreds of natural lakes located throughout House District 51.
The issue of phosphorous and its connection with the contamination of lakes has been a matter of rising concern throughout many lake regions in Indiana. The phosphorus that runs into the lakes and reservoirs can allow for the toxic growth of blue-green algae.
“With so many lakes located throughout the district, I have taken special interest in finding ways to protect these water resources and the people who use them for recreational purposes,” said Rep. Dodge. “Finding ways to control the amount of harmful waste that finds its ways into our lakes is one step that can be taken to help manage this problem.”
This upcoming session Rep. Dodge will introduce legislation that will place restrictions on fertilizers containing phosphorus. The legislation would require retailers to prepare and provide educational information explaining the restrictions on the use of fertilizers containing phosphorus and the best practices for lawn care.
Another growing concern that many Hoosiers, especially in northeast Indiana, are facing is the increasing population of mute swans. Out of the three swan species present in Indiana, two are native. The third is the mute swan, which is an alien species introduced from Europe.
“The growing issue of mute swans is something that many people throughout my district and in Indiana are starting to discuss,” said Rep. Dodge. “These animals are proving to be dangerous to the habitat by consuming and destroying large amounts of plants. Due to their aggressive behavior they are also posing a threat to the numerous people who spend their time on our lakes.”
At the Lake Management Work Group meeting a presentation was given by the Indiana Department of Natural Resources (DNR) on the Lake and River Enhancement (LARE) program. The LARE program is a part of the DNR’s Division of Fish and Wildlife. The LARE grants involve monies for biological and engineering projects, including design, diagnostic and engineering feasibility studies and construction. There was also discussion on how entities can apply for funding to remove log jams from rivers and streams.
“Several lakes in different counties benefit from the LARE program,” said Rep. Dodge. “Many people in our community pay into the LARE fund when they register their boats so it is nice for them to see their money being put to good use, whether it is through staffing our lakes with patrol, or finding ways to better maintain the overall condition of the lakes.”