Letter from the Director
Hello from MAISRC!
One year ago, we were contingency planning with the uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic ahead of us. We looked at every project, every process, every detail, and for the most part, were successful at safely delivering on our research commitments—albeit socially distant and wearing masks! At this point it sounds repetitive for me to say it, but the credit goes to our research teams and staff who continue to inspire me with their resilience and determination over the last year. In particular, a shoutout to our graduate students, some of whom have never seen their on-campus desk or colleagues in person, for their flexibility and positive attitudes. We will get back to ‘normal’ soon and the burnt popcorn in the office microwave will never smell so good!
The virtual world did not slow down the Minnesota legislature either. Over the last few months, they have debated environmental funding priorities for the FY 2022-2023 biennium. Good news! The value of a research-based approach to solving our AIS problems resonated with both parties and in both chambers. MAISRC was included in the Senate and House budgets at levels similar to the last biennium. However, an important area of disagreement remains: an increase to the AIS surcharge on watercraft registrations. The House currently includes an increase, of which $4/registration would support research, while the Senate does not. This would be an important source of stable funding for MAISRC and help us avoid the unpredictable 2-year grant cycles.
Thank you to everyone that testified, wrote letters, and called/emailed your representatives on MAISRC’s behalf – your voices were heard. BUT we are not done yet. As I write this, the legislature has just formed a conference committee to negotiate a final budget agreement. I encourage you to reach out to your representatives and the conference committee members (listed below) right now and reiterate the value of MAISRC.
Thank you all so much for everything that you do to help solve Minnesota’s AIS problems – from the state capital to the end of your dock. We are collectively making great progress, but have a long ways to go. Keep up the good work!
Hope to ‘see’ you soon!