AIS Advisory Committee Confirms AIS Can be Stopped

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

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