Program to include increased boat launch inspections and additional awareness campaigns
Just as two heads are better than one, two key lake area organizations, the Lake Minnetonka Association (LMA), a non-profit organization whose members primarily consist of lakeshore homeowners, and the Lake Minnetonka Conservation District (LMCD), a local governmental agency represented by each of the 14 lakeshore cities, are teaming up and pooling resources with the mission of preventing zebra mussels and other aquatic invasive species from entering Lake Minnetonka.
“Our goal is simple – stop zebra mussels from infesting Lake Minnetonka as milfoil did 20 years ago,” says Amanda Walsh, Lake Minnetonka Association Board President. “We believe this can be preventable and by partnering with the LMCD and integrating our efforts to establish both immediate and long-term plans to keep out aquatic invasive species, we hope to do just that.”
The Mississippi, St. Croix and Mille Lacs Lake are known to be infested with zebra mussels and now Prior Lake is suspected to be added to the list. With this new information both organizations expressed a heightened concern for Lake Minnetonka, one of the state’s most popular lakes. Estimations are that nearly 2,000 boats each year come directly to Lake Minnetonka from Mille Lacs, with similar estimates from the Mississippi and St. Croix Rivers. Once zebra mussels have been introduced to a water body, there is no known remedy for elimination or control.
“For the past nine years the LMCD has implemented an inspection program in concert with the DNR. This year there will be a substantial increase both in hours and locations,” notes Lisa Whalen, LMCD Board Chair. “The proposal is to expand the program by 47%, which is a funding increase of $21,000, from $44,450 to $65,800, for a total of 4,672 hours of inspections.” The increase will be funded with contributions by the LMA of $10,000. The LMCD will add another $11,000, some of these funds coming from their “Save The Lake” fund.
From their first appearance in American waters in 1988, zebra mussels have spread to a large number of waterways, including the Mississippi, Hudson, St. Lawrence, Ohio, Cumberland, Missouri, Tennessee, Colorado, and Arkansas rivers disrupting the ecosystems, and damaging harbors, boats, and even power plants. The U.S. Coast Guard estimates that economic losses and control efforts cost the United States about $5 billion each year. Trailered boat traffic is the most likely vector for invasion. This spread is preventable if boaters would take time to thoroughly clean and dry their boats and associated equipment before entering the water.
If you would like to make a donation or have questions you may contact eiher organization at:
Dick Osgood, Executive Director
P.O. Box 248, Excelsior, MN 55331
Contact person: Greg Nybeck
Web site: lmcd.org
Phone: (952) 745-0789
Address: 23505 Smithtown Road, Suite 120, Shorewood, MN 55331