February 2016 Letter from the Director
Dear friends –
Just like phosphorus or nitrogen, aquatic invasive species are pollutants that affect the quality of our lakes, rivers, and wetlands. They negatively impact our ability to enjoy our state’s natural resources as well as the ecosystems and wildlife that these waters support. In some places, they are even interfering with our ability to ensure clean drinking water for residents.
That’s precisely why we at MAISRC are pleased to see AIS included as a top-priority issue at the Governor’s Water Summit later this week, and why I was happy to accept the invitation to help plan the event. It will bring together a wide variety of stakeholders, including water quality experts, farmers, legislators, and interested members of the public, and will help guide the administration’s water agenda for the coming years.
Our collective efforts in the fight against AIS have been gaining momentum, but it’s still not enough to get the job done right. It’s important to let the Governor know that as a state, we need to be smarter about our work to prevent and manage AIS; a task we cannot do without increased and sustained funding of our efforts. Specifically:
- Prevention efforts need to be effectively and efficiently targeted toward the highest risk species and toward areas with the greatest risk of being infested. Research is needed to help determine these risks and to inform government decision-making so that the right policies are created and enforced.
- Networks of citizen scientists, such as AIS Detectors, are needed to ensure that new infestations of AIS are detected as quickly as possible. This needs to be paired with truly rapid control responses at all levels. MAISRC is working to improve early detection tools, and with its science-driven partnership with University of Minnesota Extension, is working with partners around the state to empower this kind of action.
- AIS control tools are needed where they don’t currently exist, and we need to improve existing controls to ensure they’re fulfilling their potential. Research into use of herbicides, for example, can ensure we’re not inadvertently poisoning our waters or spending our limited resources on efforts that do more harm than good.
The building blocks for all of this work are in place. Agencies are engaged, lakeshore associations are empowered, and we now have an institution dedicated specifically to research AIS solutions for Minnesota. For us to do our job, however, an investment in dedicated and ongoing financial support is needed. Can we count on you to let the Governor know?
We are committed to advancing the knowledge and building the capacity that Minnesota needs to reduce the impacts of aquatic invasive species on our cherished lakes, rivers, and wetlands to ensure that these waters, which belong to all Minnesotans, are protected for now and for future generations.
Dr. Susan Galatowitsch
Director, Minnesota Aquatic Invasive Species Research Center