Reader Opinion: The fight against AIS
Brainerd Dispatch, 7/2/2017
Minnesotans across the state are well aware of the threat posed to our way of life by aquatic invasive species. Our lake culture—especially in the Brainerd lakes area—is longstanding and held dearly by many. Although many challenges remain, I believe that there is much hope to be found in the work being done at the Minnesota Aquatic Invasive Species Research Center at the University of Minnesota.
Researchers at MAISRC are hard at work developing science-based solutions for the control of zebra mussels, spiny waterflea, starry stonewort, and many other species. We've already had some successes, and several groundbreaking projects are moving forward in exciting and promising directions. We also recently certified 125 new AIS Detectors—including dozens from the Brainerd area—who will be on the lookout for AIS.
Ongoing funding to support this work is critical to our success and we have four area legislators to thank for their assistance this past legislative session. We're pleased to thank Rep. Josh Heintzeman, R-Nisswa, for his work to shepherd $2.7 million of funding to MAISRC over four years from the Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund.
Sen. Carrie Ruud, R-Breezy Point, and Rep. Dale Lueck, R-Aitkin, also played integral roles in securing $410,000 of recurring funding for MAISRC in the Environment bill. Sen. Paul Gazelka, R-Nisswa, also played a key role supporting these efforts.
Both of these sources of funding are crucial for the protection of our lakes for future generations. We're grateful for the support of the Brainerd-area legislative leaders who take the health of our lakes seriously and believe solutions can indeed be found.
When it comes to AIS issues in the state, we're all in this together.
Dr. Nicholas Phelps
Director, Minnesota Aquatic Invasive Species Research Center