AIS Advisory Committee Confirms AIS Can be StoppedPublished by forester on Wed, 04/03/2013 - 14:37
In 2012 DNR Commissioner Tom Landwehr created an Aquatic Invasive Species Advisory Committee to work with the DNR. From a large pool of applicants, Commissioner Landwehr chose 15 citizens with special qualifications to serve on this advosiroy group. Jeff Forester, E.D. of MLR was named to this group. In one of their first actions, they voted unanimously to adress the myth that Minnesota cannot stop the spread of AIS, it is only a matter of time before all lakes become infested. In a letter to Commissioner Landwehr, Gov. Dayton and Legislative leadership the committee wrote, "We uniformly disagree." Here is the full text of the letter: STATEWIDE AQUATIC INVASIVE SPECIES ADVISORY COMMITTEE Robert E. Olsen – Committee Chair P.O. Box 66 Ivanhoe, MN 56142 April 1, 2013 Tom Landwehr. DNR Commissioner 500 Lafayette Road Saint Paul, MN 55155-4040 Dear DNR Commissioner Landwehr: As the Chair of the Statewide Aquatic Invasive Species Advisory Committee, I am writing at the request of the full committee to firmly rebut a developing theme in recent news stories and legislative committee debate that Minnesota cannot be successful in stopping the spread of AIS, that statewide infestation of Minnesota's water by zebra mussels and other aquatic threats is only a matter of time and that increased funding of AIS is futile and unjustified. We uniformly disagree. At the March 28th, 2013 meeting of the Statewide Aquatic Invasive Species Advisory Committee, representing an array of stakeholders, business interests and academic disciplines, we affirmed that Minnesota can and must stop the spread of AIS and that this work demands ongoing and dedicated funding at sufficient levels to meet the challenge:
Past efforts have significantly slowed AIS spread over the last thirty years.
While new threats like zebra mussels, spiny water flea and VHS pose unique challenges, and Minnesota's unique web of watersheds adds a layer of complexity to the work, our review of new technology and developing science based strategies and protocols have convinced us Minnesota can rise to the challenge.
Recent surveys by the Environmental Quality Board, Conservation Minnesota and Minnesota Lakes and Rivers Advocates all confirm that protecting Minnesota's waterways from further spread of Aquatic Invasive Species has overwhelming public support. Voices of descent are loud, but they are in the minority and the facts are not on their side.
The potential loss of billions in tax base for local communities, tourism and related business revenue, and way of life justify a significant investment. In order to meet this challenge, Minnesota must provide a framework and dedicated funding to counties, LGUs and local organizations so they can expand containment efforts at known infested waters and improve shielding of non-infested waters against current and future AIS threats. We strongly urge the legislature to pass and the Governor to sign a dedicated and ongoing funding mechanism for AIS that is fair, that increases education of lake users of AIS laws and best management protocols, and supports current and developing AIS containment and shielding efforts across the state. Sincerely Robert E. Olsen - AIS Committee Chair AIS Committee members: Barb Halbakken Fischburg, John Barten, Michelle Marko, Carol Altepeter, Rachael Crabb, Jerry Byron, Kenneth Grob, Jay Green, Doug Jensen, Tera Guetter, Michael Hoff, Gary Botzek, Jeff Forester, Pat Conzemius, Gabriel Jabbour, Norman Deschampe, Greg Oswald, Peter Sorenson, Joe Vene CC: Governor Dayton Speaker Paul Thiessen Members of the House Environment & Env. Funding Committees Sen Environment & Env. Funding Committees