Aquatic invasive species (AIS) are a serious threat to the health of our lakes, recreational opportunities like boating and fishing enjoyed by many citizens and visitors, and tourism related businesses and services. They also threaten the investment that the state and many citizens have made to improve lake water quality and habitat.
In 2014 the MN legislature recognized that success in Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) efforts would require the combination of local, state, and federal agencies. As such, on May 20th, 2014 the MN legislature leveraged local energy by creating the AIS prevention fund [Chapter 308, HF3167: Omnibus tax bill. Article 1: Property Tax Aids and Credits. Section 11]. This fund distributes $10 million annually at the county level. The bill specifically states that the proceeds must solely be used to prevent the introduction or limit the spread of aquatic invasive species at all access sites within the county. The guidelines set by the county may include, but are not limited to, providing for site-level management, countywide awareness, and other procedures that the county finds necessary to achieve compliance.
The amount of funding each county receives is based on a formula using the number of public accesses in each county and the number of boat trailer parking spaces at those public accesses. Sherburne will receive about $69,477 per year based upon 16 launches and 142 parking spaces. This dollar amount will fluctuate based upon public launch and parking space additions/removals that occur in Sherburne County and across the state.
November 2014 Sherburne County, by resolution, delegated Sherburne Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) to develop and implement an Aquatic Invasive Species Prevention Plan. The plan was to be approved by the Sherburne County Board of Commissioners and filed with the MN DNR. The plan development was initiated early in 2015 with the use of an AIS task force. The full AIS Work Plan can be found here.