Board Approves 2018 AIS Inspection Pilot Project Program

By John Holler Correspondent

Over the past decade, the tragedy of aquatic invasive species (AIS) in Minnesota lakes has become a dilemma that has ruined once-pristine lakes – most notably the devastation of Lake Koronis in Paynesville. From Eurasian watermilfoil to zebra mussels to starry stonewort, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has identified more than 20 invasive water plants and animals, including several lakes in Wright County. At the Feb. 13 meeting of the Wright County Board, Alicia O’Hare, a water resource specialist with the Wright Soil and Water Conservation District, presented a resolution to the board looking for approval of the 2018 Wright Regional Aquatic Invasive Species Inspection Program for Lake John, East and West Lake Sylvia, and Pleasant Lake – where AIS have been identified. The plan is to start with a small amount of lakes to collect data and, if successful, expand it from there.

Commissioner Mike Potter said the project isn’t a cure-all, but it’s a preventative measure for a problem that has been largely ignored while it continues to become more of an issue with each passing year.

“There’s been a lot of confusion as to what’s going on here,” Potter said. “This is a pilot project. We know we’re not going to be able to eradicate all of these aquatic invasives. What we’re attempting to do is to slow it down so we don’t have a Lake Koronis on our hands in this county. Anybody who has been on that lake or seen the pictures knows you don’t want that. Maybe the technology will catch up, but doing nothing we’re destined to have to the problem because it will just migrate this way. [Lake Koronis’ problem] is just a little too close to our border for safety.”

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