Immediate steps needed to control spread of aquatic invasive species

Dear Editor:

I am in total agreement to the article April 9, Take Steps to Protect State Waters. The only issue I have is that it did not go far enough. The University of Minnesota Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) Research Center is very important to the long term control and eradication of AIS. Unfortunately it is a long term solution that will not have positive results for at least five years or more. Research takes time.

To protect Minnesota’s great resource of lakes and rivers we need very aggressive and immediate action to stop the spread of AIS to bodies of water not currently infested and control the spread within currently infested waters.

The Minnesota Coalition of Lake Associations (MNCOLA) has proposed a strong 2014 legislative platform with five key components. A synopses of this agenda is:

  1. Modify AIS Minnesota Statute 84D to specifically follow Minimum Protocol and Standards for Watercraft Inspection Programs
  2. Modification to Minnesota AIS Statute 84D to require a certified thermal decontamination process for non-compliance of AIS laws
  3. Use Outdoor Heritage Funds to protect fish habitat from AIS by supplying  funds to local government units to purchase thermal decontamination equipment for use in their local areas.
  4. Establish a long term funding source for AIS control and eradication programs, such as and AIS decal purchase for all watercraft.
  5. Establish of adequate long term funding for Minnesota Aquatic Invasive Species research Center at the U of M.

Passage of these steps in the current legislative session could start to effectively control the spread of AIS in the very critical asset of our Minnesota waters as soon as 2015. Again we need to take immediate steps to control the spread of AIS.

Jim Shomenta