Red Lake Leaders Anticipate Tons of Trash to Wash Up on Upper Red Lake
With the snow starting to melt and ice fishing houses gone from Upper Red lake, community members are waiting to see what leftover pollution is hidden beneath the ice’s surface.
Red Lake tribal leaders are among those keeping an eye on the shoreline and working against this constant water contamination. Having trash wash to the shores of Upper Red Lake is a problem that has piled up throughout the years.
“Every spring once the ice thaws, we start to see human waste bagged up,” said Red Lake Tribal Secretary Sam Strong. “It comes up on the shores, we see it out on the water.”
The pollution does not stop at trash and bags of human waste – it also includes other harmful contaminates to the Upper Red Lake ecosystem, such as aquatic invasive species. Such threats could even potentially impact the health of Red Lake’s walleye fishery.
The tribe is also looking at other ways to preserve the lake and its inhabitants, such as the restoration of reservation boundary lines that would encompass the entirety of Upper Red Lake.
While community members and resort owners have worked to pick up the trash of others, it’s the responsibility of those anglers to pick up after themselves.
“It takes public awareness to bring this to everyone’s attention so that we can stop this from happening in the future,” said Red Lake District Representative Robert May.
Secretary Strong said the Red Lake Nation has worked well with the Minnesota DNR in the past. But due to lack of resources, the pollution on Upper Red Lake has worsened due to the amount of tourists on the half that is located on state land.
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