The local battle against Aquatic Invasive Species just received a boost.  Commissioners with Saint Louis County have approved the distribution of $750,000 of state funds to prevent the introduction and limit the spread of these hazards in northland lakes and rivers.

Eight specific projects were granted money - with the largest chunk allotted to the Lake Vermilon area.

Here are details about the projects that were approved their share of the dollars:

  • $285,885 to the Sportsmen's Club of Lake Vermilion, Inc. for inspections, education, decontamination, AIS sampling and habitat assessment at launch sites.
  • $50,000 to the City of Babbitt for the construction of a new boat access at Birch Lake. The design will incorporate drainage diversion into storm sewers, and a cleaning area for boats, trailers and vehicles.
  • $60,000 to the North St. Louis County Soil and Water Conservation District to purchase a decontamination unit, plus related labor and equipment costs.
  • $61,541 to the Natural Resources Research Institute (NRRI) to conduct an AIS introduction risk assessment for the County, using GIS and spatial analysis to determine risk potential by waterbody.
  • An additional $64,740 to NRRI for baseline surveys and geospatial modeling of AIS plants in St. Louis County. Through field sampling, remote sensing, and invasion corridor analysis, researchers will create statistical models and a map of invasion risk.
  • $107,000 to Wildlife Forever to increase public awareness through a marketing campaign targeting boaters, anglers, hunters and others who use St. Louis County waterbodies.
  • $48,380 to the St. Louis River Alliance to develop a comprehensive training program and manual to for residents and volunteers on how to recognize and report AIS.
  • An additional $70,000 to the St. Louis River Alliance to establish a technical team to identify and implement management of nonnative phragmites in the St. Louis River Estuary.

The County’s Planning and Community Development Department and Planning Commission worked with Minnesota Sea Grant to develop an AIS plan, including objectives and goals, and to develop a process for allocating funds to organizations that will participate in AIS research, control, prevention, and education activities.


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