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Building Partnerships to Stop the Spread of Aquatic Invasive Species in Minnesota

Thank you for taking part in this important collaboration towards stopping the spread of aquatic invasive species in Minnesota’s waters. Our lakes and rivers are this state’s greatest natural assets. They are the core of Minnesota’s collective identity, the bedrock of our $12.5 billion-plus tourism economy and most importantly the source of all life. They are our legacy to future generations that will live in a world of increasing water insecurity.

Aquatic invasive species (AIS) threaten the quality of these legacy resources. Many AIS are already here. Zebra mussel, spiny waterflea, eurasian watermilfoil and other AIS are increasing and other species are quickly approaching Minnesota to further threaten our lakes and rivers. Starry stonewort, discovered last year, has the potential to severely impact Minnesota’s $2.8 billion angling economy, particularly bass and panfish angling.

In 2014 Minnesota launched innovative solutions to the AIS problem that are now having a huge impact:

  • $4.05 million from the Outdoor Heritage Fund to the Initiative Foundation for pilot projects throughout the state for innovative approaches for AIS prevention.
  • $10 million annually in County AIS Prevention Aid to Minnesota counties which, working with their local partners, are planning and implementing programs to prevent and limit the spread of aquatic invasive species.

Both of these funding streams recognize the single biggest gap AIS prevention programs must cross to achieve success—that no government entity, no organization, no business can solve the problem alone. Minnesota simply has too many lakes, too many rivers, too many boats. These funding streams also leverage the biggest asset Minnesota has in this effort – the millions of Minnesotans who love our lakes and rivers.

Minnesota recognizes that partnerships are a “best management practice” (BMP) in AIS prevention. There is incredible strength and potential for huge success in this approach. The 2016 Aquatic Invaders Summit is a gathering of active and committed citizens, who along with agencies and organizations can build partnerships to prevent and slow the spread of AIS in Minnesota.

Building on these partnerships, forging new partnerships, and increasing the collaboration, consistency and communication of existing partnerships is the goal of the 2016 Aquatic Invaders Summit being held October 5th and 6th at the St. Cloud’s River’s Edge Convention Center. You will hear the many successes that have emerged, and you will be able to share in some of the challenges. This two-day Aquatic Invaders Summit is a timely opportunity for local and tribal governments, communities and their partners — lake associations, lake improvement districts, service providers, angling and conservation groups, hospitality industry businesses, chambers of commerce, boat manufacturers, water service providers and others — to share, learn and plan together for effective, local AIS prevention in Minnesota.

Leaders in AIS work across Minnesota, the United States, and Canada will share details of successful programs and on-the-ground applied science and actions for preventing the spread of AIS. Hear from leaders with diverse points of view in Minnesota about what is working for them in AIS prevention, management, enforcement, communication and education. You’ll have many opportunities to network with others to increase the capacity of your local program through effective partnerships.

On day two, October 6, you will be able to meet in regional meetings of diverse AIS partners in your region, and begin to develop relationships, explore shared resources and build protection across local political boundaries.

The Initiative Foundation and the Minnesota Lakes and Rivers Advocates would like thank the Outdoor Heritage Fund for partial support of the Summit, the committed sponsors and collaborators below, and extend a special thank-you to Paula West, Judy Corrigan, Phil Hunsicker, and Tina Wolbers for their support, good ideas and hard work in putting this Summit together. Without them this event would not have been possible. See the other tabs for preliminary agenda information and online registration. See you in October.

Summit Hosts:

  • Don Hickman
    The Initiative Foundation
  • Jeff Forester
    Minnesota Lakes and Rivers Advocates




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