U.S. Sen. Al Franken will take boat tours of both Lake Minnetonka and the Mississippi River today to learn how invasive species such as Asian carp, zebra mussels and Eurasian milfoil affect important Minnesota waterways and how they may impact Minnesota's important tourism economy.
Prior to the two boat tours, Sen. Franken will be in Minnetonka to meet with company officials and employees at Rapala USA, well-known maker of fishing lures and other fishing equipment.
Rapala sells fishing products in 140 countries, and Sen. Franken will meet with company leaders and employees, discuss the company's role in the tourism economy and take part in a casting demonstration in the company's demonstration pond.
Sen. Franken then head to Excelsior, where he will begin a boat tour of Lake Minnetonka. During the tour, he will discuss the lake's positive economic impact on the area and the threat that invasive species pose to area businesses and the local tourism economy.
Joining him will be officials from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR), the Lake Minnetonka Conservation District and the Minnesota Department of Tourism—as well as several local business and government leaders.
Minnesota's junior senator is then scheduled to travel to the Watergate Marina in St. Paul, where he will join Minnesota DNR Commissioner Tom Landwehr, as well as officials from the National Park Service, the Army Corps of Engineers, and Explore MN on a boat tour of the Mississippi River.
The tour will include a discussion of efforts to prevent Asian Carp from entering Minnesota waterways as well as stops at Mississippi Lock and Dam No. 1 and the confluence of the Mississippi and Minnesota rivers.
Check back later today for Patch's full coverage of the Minnetonka and Lake Minnetonka stops.