State Funding for Invasive Species

Minnesota Legislature Provides Direct Financial Aid for Invasive Species

The Minnesota Legislature, at the very end of the recent session, provided additional funding for the battle against invasive species.

It was remarkable in three ways.

It was a recognition, in a state with a remarkable amount of its surface covered by lakes, that there should be a significant increase in State funding to combat invasive species.

It bypassed the usual monetary route through the Department of Natural Resources and instead provided funding directly to each of the separate Counties.  The Counties were given wide latitude in the way the funds could be spent.

Unlike most legislation in which funding starts many months after the bill is passed, the legislature provided that it start almost immediately on July 1, 2014.  Perhaps that indicated the Legislature’s awareness of the importance of taking immediate steps to combat aquatic invasive species.

Crow Wing County Details

Crow Wing County received about $200,000 on July 21, 2014.  Of this amount the County earmarked about $100,000 to be spent in the remainder of the year for boat inspections at accesses.

Friends of Lower Hay received 350 hours of inspection time, the Whitefish Area Property Owners Association received 1250 hours.

This amount of time will allow 10 hours of inspection per day at most of the 7 accesses on the Chain through the busy summer boating season, and then into the Fall.

It should be noted that the lake associations had long been entirely paying for the County LGU inspectors and had paid the half the cost for many of the DNR inspectors.

Both WAPOA and DNR statistics indicate that 20% of the boaters arriving at accesses still are in violation of rules made to prevent the spread of invasive species.

There are well over 100 invasive species in the Great Lakes, many of which have the potential to live in our lakes.

We are fortunate that Eurasian watermilfoil has not yet been discovered in the Whitefish Chain.

It is probably almost impossible to eradicate and is very expensive to treat.