DNR Round Table
Each year the Minnesota DNR brings together a wide range of conservationists from around the state to learn about Department plans and to give attendees the chance to respond and offer suggestions. This year’s event was held at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in St. Paul January 4-5. I would guess 300 plus folks attended.
The program was constructed around Fisheries, Wildlife, and Ecological & Water Resources. I was honored to be asked to be the after dinner speaker Friday evening. My topic: lake ecology and the puzzling relationship we have with the lakes we say we love.
Over the next few weeks I will describe some important things that were discussed. Let’s start with Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS). Here are a few of the topics discussed.
- Commissioner Landwehr has established a 15 person statewide Aquatic Invasive Species Committee to make input on AIS issues and strategies.
- DNR enforcement efforts have been substantially expanded as DNR promised a year ago. Data for March through September in 2012 included 302 criminal citations, 615 civil citations, as well as over 1700 written and verbal warnings. Over 25,000 educational and law compliance contacts also occurred.
- Inspection: DNR has established supervisors in each of DNR’s four regions who are to hire and train 146 seasonal inspectors across the state.
- Twenty three additional hot water, high pressure washers (decontamination units) were purchased and we now have 46 inspectors trained to use the equipment.
- To increase efficiency of our watercraft inspection program, DNR has established joint powers agreements with 18 local government units. DNR provided the training and over 130,000 in grants to these units to help local governments be successful.
More AIS next week.