As we enter the year 2015, we need to realize more than ever how important it is to keep our great state free of evil aquatic invasives. I’m sure by now you’ve heard the horror stories of how some of these organisms have already fouled our waters. The Eurasian Milfoil in some metro lakes is so bad that it isn’t even safe to swim anymore. The weeds are so thick that fishing has become impossible, and no one is even sure if there are even any fish left living in some the more infested lakes. You can’t launch a boat, you can hardly even see the water. On Lake Minnetonka it is so bad that wealthy lakeshore owners are trading in their big cruiser boats for monster trucks. “I can’t get my 30 foot cruiser to go through the bloody stuff”, cried prominent Deephaven resident Carter Davenport “so I opted for this baby!” as he slapped a giant tire taller than he is.
Carter Davenport’s “Behemoth”
“The giant tires on ‘Behemoth’ provide enough traction and floatation that I ride right over the top of the heavy stuff. Lord Fletcher’s is providing parking for oversize vehicle enthusiasts like myself, and I can’t imagine going back to having a boat.” He continued, “In a good year, there is a pretty good milfoil bridge that goes all the way to Big Island, so unless the DNR does something about the milfoil, Behemoth is the perfect water toy for me”.
Another nuisance is the zebra mussel. Zebra mussels are becoming worse every year, and their razor sharp shells have resulted in many accidental amputations. You can’t talk to someone around a lake infested with zebra mussels without hearing a horror story of how someone close to them has lost a limb or worse. They propagate so quickly that some lakes are actually filling in. Some have theorized that White Bear Lake residents have illegally planted the zebra mussels, hoping their sheer numbers will displace enough water that the lake levels will rise to where they were 10 years ago, not to mention that the fear of falling into a bed of zebra mussels is enough to keep most boaters away. We asked long time White Bear resident Barbara Thorndyke what she thought of zebra mussels being in her lake. “I’ve never heard of such things, and furthermore, I really don’t care. Every time we try to have a nice get together with other members of the Lake Club, someone has to bring us all down with boring environmental talk. If the lake were filled with these zebra things, or if there were no fish at all in this lake it would be fine with me, and I’m not alone. All we want is to be able to gaze out on a quiet lake, free from all the clutter of boats”. She pause as she took a sip from the drink her houseman had delivered moments before. “I guess the sailboats are pretty, they can stay, but have you seen these sparkly abominations people fish from? And don’t even get me started on their outfits.”
As if these two invasives aren’t bad enough already, University of Minnesota Biologist Ken Blankenship has confirmed what many thought impossible—the two species have actually begun to interbreed and have combined to form a new “super invasive” [cue scary music]—the Zebrafoil. “We have rarely seen two completely distinct forms of life successfully hybridize”, explained Blankenship, ‘this just goes to show how tenacious and truly dangerous these things are.” Zebrafoil has been confirmed in several Minnesota lakes already, and it’s only a matter of time before they spread to more.
Global warming is another factor contributing to the spread of invasives. We asked local Meteorologist Sven Sundgaard for comment, “There is no doubt that unless something is done to reverse climate change, it is only a matter of time before these invasives have filled all of our lakes and rivers. We have more severe weather each year, and all it would take is an F5 or larger tornado to pass through an infested area, and the invasives would be sucked up and distributed into areas where they could have never reached. Everyone laughed at the ‘Sharknado’ movies, but no one will be laughing when a Zebrafoilnado deposits a dose of invasives into Lake Itasca”.
The time to act is now, and nothing can be done without proper funding. And like it or not, no one can raise money like celebrities, so the Minnesota DNR has partnered with the Screen Actors Guild and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame to create a fundraiser like this state has never seen. This June, get ready for the first annual “Celebrities Reject Alien Problem Species”, or CRAPS for short. For one big weekend, select actors and musicians with a penchant for angling will be hosting a series of events at various Twin Cities locales. All monies raised will go directly towards preventing the additional spread of invasive species. The goal is to raise 17 million dollars, a lofty goal, but according to DNR spokesperson Becky-Angela Parkerstein-Harrison ” There’s a lot of man hours that go into preventing invasive species from spreading, and these efforts require money—you have to design a website, print stickers, come up with catchy slogans, not to mention boat wash stations and roadside checkpoints. There are 250 employees stationed at various accesses around the state, and while they accomplish nothing other than annoying law abiding anglers, they still have to get paid. At least it makes it looks like we’re doing something.” She continued, “The money we get from fines alone just isn’t cutting it, and while we were considering turning all public accesses into pay accesses, we decided that a big fundraiser might be the most popular.”
All events and seminars have not been finalized, but this is what has been scheduled so far. For more information, be sure to use the hash tags shown after each event’s description.
Paris Hilton–Are you interested in increasing your casting distance by 20%? Paris will be putting on a surfcasting demo at Calhoun Beach. When asked how she is such an expert on distance casting, she replied, “My Malibu beach house has pretty good fishing for leopard sharks and halibut in front of it, but if you don’t get your bait out past the breakers, it’s surf perch city.” A distance casting contest will follow, the winner gets to accompany Paris on a shopping spree to MOA. #fishingfashion
Henry Winkler–Popular actor and fly fishing author will make a presentation highlighting his many trout fishing trips across the country. He will also be signing special additions of his fly fishing book, “I Never Met an Idiot on the River”. Admission to this event is $10, but to be entered into a drawing for free tickets, be sure to follow us on Twitter with the hash tag #setthehookamundo. Definitely two thumbs up for this.
Oprah Winfrey—”Fly Fishing and the Single Mom” is the title of a program Oprah will put on at the Downtown YMCA. She will be revealing the new waders from Simms with zipper flaps to allow for breast feeding. “How to Tie Flies with Items Found Around Your House” is another topic than will be covered. Creative uses for pet fur, discarded undergarments, and shopping bags will be discussed and demonstrated. Be sure to attend, and bring the kids–we’re told Oprah is planning a BIG giveaway. #womeninwaders
Roger Daltrey–Rock’s greatest vocalist is going to get vocal about how to prevent new invasives from showing up. He should know–He has built and maintains his own private trout lakes in England, and so far the only invasives are the rainbow trout he puts in there. He also has the world record for fastest time filleting a fish. You’re encouraged to bring your own fresh fish; Roger will fillet them for you, while singing an a’capella version of any song of your choosing. #whoareyou
Roger Waters–Following his countryman’s lead, this Roger will describe how building a wall around your favorite body of water may be what is needed to keep the invasives out. “We’re gonna start by building a wall along the Iowa border; I’ve heard those striped whistlers are the worst invasives of all.” Mr. Waters is an avid angler, and will be giving a Powerpoint presentation of his fishing trips around the world, set to the backdrop of a recorded acoustic performance of Dark Side of the Moon. #wedontneednoeducation
Prince—Prince will not be there. #whatsthesymbolformilfoil
Kevin Costner has challenged United States President Barack Obama to a fly casting contest. We have long known that Mr. Costner is concerned for the environment, and President Obama addressed immigration, which is similar to invasive species issues, in his recent State of the Union Address. Tickets to this event are $1,250.00 and include admission the casting contest, photo ops with both, and a dinner at Sea Salt, where the chefs have created some new menu items just for the night, including a salad of crisp milfoil sprigs tossed with a light vinaigrette, a zebra mussel ceviche, and carp tartar. After dinner, The President will reveal his plan where some of the money from Obamacare will be routed into the anti-invasives fund. The loser of the casting contest will donate one million dollars to the fund and will have to go through the spanking machine, #watchyourbackcastbarack
Ted Nugent –In an effort to add some political balance, everyone’s favorite outspoken outdoorsman will be hosting a bowfishing tournament where invasive Asian carp will be the target. We’re not sure how successful this will be, or how the winner will be determined, since there are no invasive Asian carp in the state. When asked, Ted said “You can’t be too careful, Asian carp are sneaky, just like Democrats. Once they get established, you can’t get rid of the sonofabitches! ” He kept the rant going, “If we spot one, you can be sure there will be no catch and release.” We’re not totally sure if he meant carp or Democrats. “If we can’t find any Asian carp to shoot, we’ll have to turn to turtles, squirrels, maybe woodpeckers. One things for sure, something is going to have some arrows flung at it, so you tree huggin’ liberals better stay in the coffee shop!” This event will take place as far away as is possible from the Costner/Obama event. #strangleholdoninvasives
Dwayne Johnson—Everyone knows this star of the silver screen and the squared circle, he is also at home on the water, and is the host of the premier event of the weekend, the “Minnetonka Bass Smackdown” a celebrity bass tournament. Even though it is called the Minnetonka Bass Smackdown, the tournament will actually be held on Lake Harriet sine Minnetonka has become so infested that fishing there isn’t really an option. To add awareness to the problem with invasives, no boats will be used in this event, as we wouldn’t want this tournament to actually contribute to the spread of evil, destructive, nasty, invasive species. When asked for comment on invasive species, Dwayne quickly went into character, “You THINK your boat is clean! You THINK your trailer has no weeds on it! You THINK your livewell is empty! Well don’t think for a minute that the Rock doesn’t know just what’s going on! BRING your ‘foil! BRING your zebra mussels! BRING your Asian carp! The Rock is going to take ’em all, turn ’em sideways, and stick ’em straight up your candy asses!” Entry fee is $100 for adults, $10 for kids, and the winners get a role in an upcoming action/adventure film in which Dwayne portrays a state agent who is kept busy keeping his state free of invasive species. Be prepared for hilarity when what appears to be a milk truck overturns on a bridge crossing a river, it turns out the milk truck is actually full of freshwater octopi en route to a seafood restaurant. How will they keep them out of the river, and where will that last one turn up…? #fishingforjabronis
In conclusion, it is crucial that all sportsman of our state plan on donating to and attending this monumental event. There will be plenty for non anglers, kids, and the elderly as well, so bring everyone. Public education, habitat improvement and common sense are obviously not going to stop this invasion. We will absolutely be looking for volunteers to help keep everything running smoothly at all the events. No matter your politics or beliefs, keeping invasives at bay is something we can all believe in. For more info, go to the website www.celebritiesjointhepointlessfightagainstweedsandclams.org