Lake Minnetonka could see tighter littering sanctions

Purify yourself in the waters of Lake Minnetonka, and you’ll likely encounter a cluster of beer cans in the process. The Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office Water Patrol can cite someone for littering on a lake if the deputy observes the act, or the person admits to it. Several residents and volunteers say that's not enough, and on Wednesday night, the Lake Minnetonka Conservation District will discuss the possibility of harsher littering penalties.

Among metro lakes, Lake Minnetonka collects the most traffic, particularly Big Island, which sparkles with cans, liquor bottles, clothes, and likely a bunch of lost iPhones every weekend. That's why the Lake Minnetonka Association is bolstering cleanup efforts by recruiting volunteer divers with trash bags to help clear the mess. Volunteers from Tonka Bay Marina and Life’s A Beach Shoreline Services Inc. filled a barge with half a ton of garbage after the 4th of July weekend, the Star Tribune reported.

The Water Patrol has given out very few citations for littering, if any, over the past few years, and tonight the board with discuss the possibility of more enforcement or harsher sanctions for lake-goers who throw their underwear and other items overboard. It's currently a misdemeanor, according to conservation district code.

The paper added it’s mostly residents tackling the cleanup effort because no agency has taken the reins when it comes to taking the trash out of the water beyond the shoreline. The conservation district will discuss littering during its regular meeting at 7 p.m.

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