County Board approves funding seven projects to combat aquatic invasive species

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Planning & Community Development Department • Government Services Center

320 West Second Street, Suite 301 • Duluth, MN 55802

Phone: (218) 725-5000 • Toll Free in Minnesota: 1 (800) 450-9777 


Matthew E. Johnson





February 21, 2023

MEDIA CONTACT: Matthew Johnson

Director, Planning & Community Development Department



County Board approves funding seven projects to combat aquatic invasive species

The St. Louis County Board has approved the distribution of $712,235 of state funds for seven projects that focus on preventing the introduction of Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) or limiting their spread in lakes and rivers in St. Louis County. Commissioners unanimously approved the list of projects during their meeting Tuesday in Duluth.


The approved projects and funding include:

  • $478,500 to the North St. Louis Soil and Water Conservation District to manage watercraft inspections, decontaminations and public education on Bear Island, Birch, Burntside, Crane, Ely, Gilbert-Pit, Johnson, Kabetogama, One Pine, Pelican, Shagawa, Sturgeon and Vermilion Lakes.

  • $141,000 to Wildlife Forever for marketing efforts for their Clean Drain Dry Initiative campaign aimed at public awareness and education, and behavioral change.

  • $45,000 to Community Action Duluth for continued eradication, control, mapping, and monitoring of non-native phragmites in the St. Louis River Estuary.

  • $30,000 to Canosia Township for watercraft inspections and public education on Pike Lake and Caribou Lake.

  • $24,515 to Grand Lake Township for watercraft inspections on Caribou Lake.

  • $23,500 to Vermilion Lake Association for continued watercraft inspections and cleaning; public awareness and education; habitat evaluation and threat assessment; early detection, response efforts and population management; and partnership development.

  • $19,796 to Burntside Lake Association for enhanced training of boat inspectors, promote the use of decontamination 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. Through an application and proposal process, St. Louis County has sought out organizations to address AIS issues with multi-disciplinary, integrated solutions based on science, related to natural resources sustainability, and social and economic concerns. Since 2014, when the AIS Prevention Aid Program started, St. Louis County has distributed more than $5 million to fund projects that address one or more of the seven categories and associated actions outlined in the St. Louis County AIS Prevention Plan.


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 (171) and the highest number of watercraft trailer parking spaces (1,444). 

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