It might seem strange to be thinking about open water and Aquatic Invasive Species this time of year - especially with the brutally cold weather we've been having - but, St. Louis County Board members are doing just that.  At a recent meeting, the county board voted to approve funding for eight projects that will help in the fight against Aquatic Invasive Species - channeling off of funding available from the State of Minnesota.

In total, $654,530 will be distributed to the different programs.  Each of the eight grant projects are designed to both prevent the introduction of and limit the spread of Aquatic Invasive Species in the lakes and rivers throughout St. Louis County.

Here's a run down of which projects received funding and their respective dollar amounts:

  • $389,600 - to 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, Shagawam and Vermilion Lakes.
  • $98,000 - to Wildlife Forever for marketing efforts for their Clean Drain Dry Initiative campaign aimed at public awareness and education and behavioral change.
  • $42,191 - to Vermilion Lake Association for continued watercraft inspections and cleaning, public awareness and education, habitat evaluation and threat assessment, early detection and response efforts, and partnership development.
  • $30,000 - to Canosia Township for watercraft inspections and public education on Pike Lake and Caribou Lake.
  • $24,450 - to the University of Minnesota Sea Grant for a pilot project to install CD3 hub stations at four public water accesses (St. Louis River Boy Scout and Munger Landings, Island Lake Abbott Road Landing, and Pike Lake Public Access) to enable boaters to self-inspect their own watercraft.
  • $22,164 - to Grand Lake Township for watercraft inspections on Caribou Lake.
  • $20,000 - to Community Action Duluth for continued eradication, control, mapping, andd monitoring of non-native phragmites in the St. Louis River Estuary.
  • $19,125 - to Burntside Lake Association for continued training of boat inspectors, promote the use of boat cleaning stations, improve public awareness and education about AIS, build early detection capabilities, and partnership development.

According to information released by St. Louis County, 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".  Comparing the rest of the counties in Minnesota, St. Louis County received the second highest number of watercraft trailer launches and the highest number of watercraft trailer parking spaces.

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Each year - through the Aquatic Invasive Species Prevention Aid Program - the state legislature allocates funding to counties to be used to prevent the introduction or limit the spread.  The County supports projects that address one or more of the seven categories and associated actions outlined in the St. Louis County AIS Prevention Plan.

Aquatic Invasive Species disrupt the health of water bodies and pose a myriad of threats to natural, cultural, and recreational resources of the region.  More information about St. Louis County's Aquatic Invasive Species prevention plan, click here.

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