County approves funding to combat invasive species

ST. LOUIS COUNY — The St. Louis County Board has approved the distribution of $654,530 of state funds for eight projects that will prevent the introduction and limit the spread of Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) in lakes and rivers in St. Louis County. Commissioners unanimously approved the list of projects during their meeting on February 9 in Virginia.

The approved projects and funding include: • $398,600 to the North St. Louis Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) to manage watercraft inspections, decontaminations, and public education on Bear Island, Birch, Burntside, Crane, Ely, Gilbert Pit, Johnson, Kabetogama, One Pine, Pelican, Shagawa, and Vermilion lakes.

• $98,000 to Wildlife Forever for
marketing efforts for their Clean Drain
Dry Initiative campaign aimed at public
awareness and education and behavioral
• $42,191 to Vermilion Lake Association

for continued watercraft inspections
and cleaning, public awareness and
education, habitat evaluation and threat
assessment, early detection and response
efforts, and partnership development.
• $30,000 to Canosia Township for watercraft inspections and public education
on Pike Lake and Caribou Lake.
• $24,450 to the University of Minnesota
Sea Grant for a pilot project to install
CD3 hub stations at four public water
accesses (St. Louis River Boy Scout and
Munger Landings, Island Lake Abbott
Road Landing, and Pike Lake Public
Access) to enable boaters to self-inspect
their own watercraft.
• $22,164 to Grand Lake Township for
watercraft inspections on Caribou Lake.
• $20,000 to Community Action Duluth
for continued eradication, control,
mapping, and monitoring of non-native
phragmites in the St. Louis River Estuary.
• $19,125 to Burntside Lake Association
for continued training of boat inspectors, promote the use of boat cleaning
stations, improve public awareness

and education about AIS, build early detection capabilities, and partnership development.

Each year, through the AIS Prevention Aid Program, the state legislature allocates funding to counties to be used to prevent the introduction or limit the spread of AIS. The amount of funding received from the state is based on a formula that factors each county’s share of watercraft trailer launches and watercraft trailer parking spaces. Of Minnesota’s 87 counties, St. Louis County has the second highest number of watercraft trailer launches (170) and the highest number of watercraft trailer parking spaces (1,429).

Aquatic invasive species disrupt the health of water bodies and pose a myriad of threats to natural, cultural and recreational resources of the region. Key AIS species of concern in St. Louis County include zebra and quagga mussels, starry stonewort, the New Zealand mudsnail, viral hemorrhagic septicemia (VHS), round and tubenose gobies, Eurasian ruffe, faucet snail, mystery snail, spiny water flea, Eurasian watermilfoil, and rusty crayfish. More information about the county’s AIS prevention plan and work that’s been done to date is available online at www.stlouiscountymn. gov/AIS.

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