Crow Wing County Holds 2019 Aquatic Invasive Species Prevention Wrap Up
An issue many lake lovers in Minnesota are concerned about was the topic of discussion at a community meeting in Brainerd today. Crow Wing County held the meeting to detail the 2019 Aquatic Invasive Species Prevention Plan and what can be changed for next year.
“People come here because of the water quality, and it’s so important to protect that not only for us currently but for future generations,” said Gary Griffin, Crow Wing County Land Services Director.
In Crow Wing County, before the busy 2019 boating and fishing season, the county was granted $443,109 in local aid from the state to deal with this issue. With that, a plan was put in place to try to best manage and promote the prevention of aquatic invasive species (AIS).
“The state has been generous in putting together this money that is coming out to the counties and it’s been really working toward the inspections, is where most of the money has been going, and they’ve been doing some market,” said Crow Wing County Commissioner Bill Brekken. “We’ve been fortunate to have the water that we have and so we’re trying to use those resources the best we can.”
On Wednesday, members of the lakes community gathered to discuss the success of the 2019 plan and generate discussion on the plan for the 2020 season.
“We have the key players within the prevention piece of AIS coming together. We want to be at the table. We want to be talking about how the county can actually work with us and provide the inspections and allocate the dollars coming from the state of Minnesota,” said Tony Coffey, Whitefish Area Property Owners Association President.
The 2019 AIS Prevention Plan focused on four major objectives: coordination between area lake associations, watercraft inspections, Lake Improvement District (LID) management, and education and outreach.
“People sitting at a landing, actually physically checking for aquatic invasives. But we also have a huge education awareness program. That’s where we really believe if we can convince folks to do the right thing or be aware of what they need to do on the landing is a huge component of what we do,” explained Griffin.
Though the needs can vary from lake to lake, one thing is certain and that is the importance of confronting the issue of aquatic invasive species.
“Water is really an asset to Crow Wing County, an economic driver, so we’ve got to help protect that,” added Brekken.
Crow Wing County is in the process of constructing the 2020 AIS Prevention Plan and will be looking for the public’s feedback on the plan in the coming months.