The battle to combat Aquatic Invasive Species in the Northland is both an ongoing process and an expensive one. At a recent meeting, the St. Louis County Board voted to approve the distribution and allocation of state funds towards the effort.

Seven projects throughout the county were awarded their share of $712,235 in state funds; three-quarter of a million dollars to "limit the...spread [of Aquatic Invasive Species] in the lakes and rivers [of] St. Louis County.

By unanimous vote, the funding was approved. Here is a breakdown of what projects got funding and how the money will be spent:

  • $478,500 - to the North St. Louis Soil and Water Conservation District. This money will be spent on managing watercraft inspections, decontaminations, and public education - on Bear Island, Birch, Burntside, Crane, Ely, Gilbert-Pit, Johnson, Kabetogama, One Pine, Pelican, Shagawa, Sturgeon, and Vermilion Lakes.
  • $141,000 - to Wildlife Forever. This money will be used for marketing efforts for their Clean Drain Dry Initiative campaign, which is aimed at public awareness and education as well as behavioral change.
  • $45,000 - to Community Action Duluth. This money will be used for continued eradication, control, mapping, and monitoring of non-native phragmites in the St. Louis River Estuary.
  • $30,000 - to Canosia Township. This money will be used for watercraft inspections and public education on Pike Lake Caribou Lake.
  • $24,515 - to Grand Lake Township. This money will be used for watercraft inspections on Caribou Lake.
  • $23,500 - to Vermilion Lake Association. This money will be used for continued watercraft inspections and cleaning; public awareness and education; habitat evaluation and threat assessment; early detection, response efforts and population management; and partnership development.
  • $19,796 - to Burntside Lake Association. This money will be used for enhanced training of boat inspectors, promote the use of decontamination stations, improve public awareness and education about Aquatic Invasive Species, build early detection capabilities, and partnership development.

The funding for these projects came from the Minnesota State Legislature. Each year the state allocates funding via their Aquatic Invasive Species Prevention Aid Program to counties to "prevent the introduction of limit the spread of AIS".

St. Louis County's share of the funding came about through the application that was submitted. Since the AIS state-funded program began back in 2014, St. Louis County has received and distributed more than $5 million to fund various projects that "address one or more of the seven categories and associated actions outlines in....[the counties] AIS Prevention Plan".

The State of Minnesota calculates how much each county gets based on a formula that takes into account a variety of different items. The main part of the formula is each county's "share of watercraft trailer launches and watercraft trailer parking spaces". According to details shared, St, Louis County has the second highest number of watercraft trailer launches (171) and the highest number of watercraft trailer parking spaces (1,444) out of Minnesota's 87 counties.

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