Section 1: Introduction
Water is one of Minnesota's most valuable resources. Lakes, rivers, and wetlands are important assets to Minnesotans. The "Land of 10,000 Lakes" actually has 11,842 lakes over 10 acres in size and more than 63,000 miles of natural streams and rivers. An adequate supply of clear fresh water is vital to life, agriculture, commerce, and industry. Recreational use of waters provides enjoyment and contributes to the state's economy.
Water provides many benefits to Minnesotans, and it is important to protect and manage it. High-quality water is essential for a healthy state economy. Managing public waters and adjacent shorelands helps maintain and improve water quality. Careful management also protects and improves visual and scenic values -- qualities not easily measured until they are lost.
Water and near shore areas are critical to health and well being of fish, wildlife, and native plants. Fish and wildlife are highly dependent on vegetated shorelines to provide healthy spawning areas, as well as habitat for feeding, resting, and mating life stages. Fishing and hunting are benefits of good shoreline management practices. Wildlife observation is best along riparian areas with healthy vegetation.
Education, legislation, and good environmental practices by Minnesotans are important to maintaining and improving water quality and scenic resources in Minnesota.