Detroit Lakes Summit Afterglow
Last Saturday (Jan. 14, 2012) 350 people from all over the state, including eleven legislators of both parties, gathered in Detroit Lakes to urge increased action against aquatic invasive species (AIS). What happened?
Speakers and audience visited many topics, with prominent focus on funding.
Suggested funding sources included:
- Increase watercraft surcharge. There has been no increase since 1993.
- Establish a fee for out-of-state recreational use. Minnesota boat owners pay a license fee, but, currently, out-of-state boaters pay nothing.
- Increase fees for special events like water ski competitions, fishing tournaments, boat racing, etc.
- Tap the Environmental Trust Fund dollars for AIS work.
- Increase fines for violating AIS laws making them commensurate with penalties imposed on fish and game violations.
Some people asked, “Why can’t Legacy money be used in the AIS fight?”
The Lessard-Sams Outdoor Heritage Council (LSOHC) has recommended funding a $3 million DNR proposal to slow the advance of Asian carp to protect the St. Croix River. Minnesota law, however, requires Wisconsin to contribute half the cost. Will they? Who knows?
No other AIS proposals have been submitted to the LSOHC. I expect it would be willing to consider some.
More details next week.
Big Turnout for AIS Summit in DL Online