County moves ahead with AIS prevention

One of the main goals of the county's Aquatic Invasive Species Prevention Plan is to not only monitor infestations, but to also manage any new species that might invade Douglas County lakes.

Zebra mussels are an aquatic invasive species that can cause problems on lakes by attaching to boat motors and boat hulls, docks, lifts, rocks and swimming areas. They can also clog irrigation intakes and other pipes. (Contributed)

Zebra mussels are an aquatic invasive species that can cause problems on lakes by attaching to boat motors and boat hulls, docks, lifts, rocks and swimming areas. They can also clog irrigation intakes and other pipes. (Contributed)

Because of this, the Douglas County Land and Resources Management office developed the AIS New Infestation Response Plan, which county commissioners approved last week.

Having a specific plan and the materials to implement that plan are critical to the success of limiting the spread of any AIS, said Justin Swart, the county's aquatic invasive species prevention coordinator. He said the eight-page document is based on plans from other counties around the state and that he worked closely with authorities in Ramsey County.

In addition, the New Infestation Response Plan is included in Douglas County's overall emergency management plan.

The protocol for a new infestation of AIS consists of six core components:

• Report a suspected AIS infestation

• Investigate the report

• Confirm the report

• Decision-making process

• Assessment of management options and treatment procedures

• Public awareness

If a new AIS is suspected, it should be reported to either Swart or Mark Ranweiler, an invasive species specialist with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. Swart can be contacted at 320-762-3864 or justins@co.douglas.mn.us. Ranweiler can be contacted at 218-739-7576, ext. 254, or mark.ranweiler@state.mn.us.

The DNR will conduct a thorough investigation and will confirm whether the suspected AIS is a new infestation. If it is, several people will be contacted and will weigh in on the decision-making process, including the county AIS coordinator, the county commissioners, the sheriff's office, the lake association president of the infested lake and several more. 

For full article, go to: Echo Press

Source, image(s), credits & more: Echo Press | Celeste Edenloff