On Thursday, Dec. 13, the Minnehaha Creek Watershed District (MCWD) Board of Managers approved enhanced Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) prevention and management measures for 2013. The 2013 program will be funded though savings from other district projects instead of a previously-considered property tax increase.
This will be the fourth year that the District has not increased its property tax levy.
“The Minnehaha Creek Watershed District remains committed to providing high quality natural resource management and being good environmental and fiscal stewards. After receiving considerable input from residents and other stakeholders and considering the need for quick action, the District is moving forward with a carefully-developed, community-driven plan to further protect lakes and streams in the District from AIS,” said MCWD Board President Jim Calkins.
The MCWD’s enhanced AIS prevention and management plan for 2013 includes
- increased grant funding to local governments for watercraft inspections;
- two roaming inspectors to serve other publicly-accessible lakes that don’t have an ongoing inspector presence;
- grant funding for boat cleaning stations in the District;
- expansion of the District’s zebra mussel monitoring program to all major lakes within the District and creation of a volunteer monitoring program to help spot new infestations;
- enhanced education and outreach efforts.
Another component of this plan is in response to local interest to sustain recreational access to lakes and streams. It’s a self-certification program for boaters who, upon completion of a training course on inspecting and cleaning their boats, would receive a sticker or pass that may expedite them through the inspection process.
The MCWD’s enhanced 2013 AIS prevention and management plan was adopted after receiving public comment and significant input from the District’s AIS Task Force – a coalition of community leaders, including business owners, angler groups, parks officials, and lake associations – and a Technical Advisory Committee that includes the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, county and park district staff, and University of Minnesota staff.