By Susan-Elizabeth Littlefield

RED WING, Minn. (WCCO) – A man who leads eagle cruises near Red Wing, Minn. has seen high waves and erosion damaging the trees that hold eagles’ nests along the shore.

Red Wing  is in the process of drying out.

The mighty Mississippi River is purging itself of inanimate objects.

Cruise director, Captain Rusty Mathiasmeier describes the scene as a river full of logs and trash.

But Mathiasmeier, who took WCCO along for one of his eagle spotting cruises back in the spring, says there’s an upside to what’s been falling down.

“With the no wake zone in effect that slows them down, which is a great thing,” Mathiasmeier said.

The recent floods have meant boats have to slow down as posted. Before the temporary regulation signs, the captain says it was a problem with great consequence.

“We actually lost two nests this year of our favorite eagles,” Mathiasmeier said.

He says the high water and big waves are eroding the shore and destroying unhatched eagles.

“The trees just fall, roots and all. So the trees are awful high, and the nests have been in the trees 30 or 40 years maybe, so you hate to see it happen,” he said.

He’s starting taking video to document his frustration. He’s even tried to verbally control the situation by telling boaters to slow down.

But he knows the river has to be shared, as it is the land of the free.

He says of the eagles he loves so much, “It’s the American bird.”

The DNR says in the past few weeks, they’ve given cities the power to designate wake zones for up to 30 days.

The DNR also offers tips for boat safety on their website.


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