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The DNR wants your input on dock sizes

This year, the issue of dock sizes and other shoreline structures played at the forefront of lake issues, as the DNR is sorting out dock regulations. The legislature passed a bill last spring requiring the DNR to update rules and permit requirements on structures allowed in public waters by January 15, 2010.

First, just to be clear, these dock issues are only about the width of a dock and the size of a platform at the end of the dock, not about the presence of docks all together. The DNR has regulated docks and other structures in public waters for several decades "with the intent of balancing protection of water resources with reasonable use," including access for lakeshore owners.

The DNR wants your input on the dock issue, and they have set up an online survey for all owners of registered watercraft to express their opinions about structures such as docks, boatlifts, and platforms in the state's lakes, rivers and streams. The deadline for filling out this survey is January 19, 2009. The results will be posted on the DNR website shortly thereafter, and I will write a summary of those results in this column.

You can take the online survey at:

People who cannot access the survey electronically and would like to participate can call 651-259-5700 to request a paper copy. Those who do not own a watercraft but wish to express their opinion are invited to send comments via e-mail to or mail your comments to Docks and Structures Survey, DNR, 500 Lafayette Rd., St. Paul 55155.

This is your chance to play a part in this decision-making process. In addition, if the DNR gets a large number of responses to this online survey, they will probably be more likely to use this same process for other issues.

Enjoy the lakes!