FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
February 14, 2017
CONTACT: Barbara Hayden
Planning & Economic Development Director
County Board approves funds to combat Aquatic Invasive Species
St. Louis County Commissioners have authorized the distribution of $853,449 of state funds for projects that will prevent the introduction and limit the spread of Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) in lakes and rivers in St. Louis County. Ten projects were selected following review by the County’s Planning and Community Development Department based on what fit best with the County’s Aquatic Invasive Species plan. Some of the projects are new; others are a continuation of work done in previous years.
The County Board voted unanimously to fund the following:
- $281,600 to the North Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) to manage watercraft inspections, decontaminations and public education on Burntside Lake and Lake Vermilion.
- $96,396 to the Vermilion Lake Association for watercraft inspections and cleaning, public awareness and education efforts and other work.
- $95, 387 to the Natural Resources Research Institute for a research project on the spiny water flea, which will be done in partnership with several lake associations and the Bois Forte Band.
- $90,177 to Wildlife Forever for a public education marketing campaign.
- $60,000 to Duluth Stream Corps - Community Action to eradicate and manage non-native phragmites, a wetland grass, in the St. Louis River estuary.
- $46,900 to the St. Louis River Alliance to continue a citizen monitoring program and to expand it with online training offerings.
- $43,075 to the Burntside Lake Association to expand its work with the North SWCD on boat inspections and other efforts.
- $34,800 to the Bois Forte Band to test and monitor for the spiny water flea.
- $30,114 to Canosia Township to contain existing zebra mussel populations on Pike Lake and Caribou Lake through watercraft inspections and public outreach.
- $25,000 to CD3 Station to develop user operated cleaning stations to reduce the risk of spreading AIS. The pilot project is developing units at five locations, including the Canosia Township boat launch on PIke Lake.
Also included in this funding is $50,000 to be held in a County reserve fund for seasonal urgent needs.
Each year, through the AIS Prevention Aid Program, the state legislature gives funding to counties to allocate to organizations that will participate in AIS research, control, prevention, and education activities. How much funding comes 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 (166) and the highest number of watercraft trailer parking spaces (1,173).
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, the New Zealand mudsnail, viral hemorrhagic septicemia (VHS), round and tubenose gobies, Eurasian ruffe, faucet snail, mystery snail, spiny water flea, Eurasian watermilfoil, purple loosestrife and rusty crayfish.
To learn more about efforts to control AIS, or to subscribe to receive updates on the topic from the County, visit stlouiscountymn.gov/AIS.
A water resources specialist with the North St. Louis County Soil and Water Conservation District demonstrates a boat inspection and decontamination process in this 2016 photo. The St. Louis County Board approved funding to continue this project in 2017.