One the greatest threats to the ecosystems in our lakes and rivers is the increasing number of aquatic invasive species (AIS). AIS are any type of aquatic species that is not native to our state and have no native predator and as a result often out-compete native species for food and habitat. This is why Conservation Minnesota, through our Minnesota Waters program, works hard with our partners and members to protect our state’s native plants and animals from this threat.
As a member of the Stop Carp Coalition, we worked with our federal delegation this past spring to urge and convince Congress to close the St. Anthony Falls Lock and Dam. This decision will significantly reduce the risk of invasive carp spreading to waterways north of the Twin Cities.
In addition, our team at the state capitol scored some significant wins during this past legislative session. We helped pass the bonding bill that includes $46 million for run-off reduction and wastewater treatment projects and supported efforts to secure over $10 million for research and projects to combat the spread of AIS.
Working with our elected officials to craft rules and laws is necessary and useful. However, the first line of defense remains with Minnesotans who enjoy using our water. To date, Conservation Minnesota has held 11 AIS monitoring trainings, which equip lake associations, river groups, and other volunteers to properly monitor waters for AIS. At these trainings, we have certified 70 groups and 175 individuals as Citizen Monitors who now have the tools and knowledge necessary to protect our waters.
Finally, we are updating the Minnesota Waters website to be more user-friendly. This overhaul will help lake and river associations across the state coordinate their work and spread information to members and other users about caring for our state’s most precious natural resource.
All this work was made possible because of you! Your priorities are what drive our work. Together we can ensure that our state’s land, lakes, and way of life can be cherished for generations to come.