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Governor's Fishing Opener a reminder of challenges of aquatic invasive species

Our area had the great honor of hosting the Governor’s Fishing Opener — thanks to everyone who participated and worked so hard to make the weekend so successful.

The unofficial start of our excellent fishing season is a great reminder of the threat aquatic invasive species pose to our lakes, rivers and streams. This threat to our waterways is also a threat to our growing tourism industry — a critical part of our local economy.

Over the last two years, we’ve been working on a number of solutions to reverse this trend now and in the future. In total, more than $20 million has been dedicated to fighting aquatic invasive species in Minnesota’s lakes and rivers. Through the Outdoor Heritage Fund, we’re investing $4 million for the Central Minnesota Initiative Fund to develop a series of pilot projects to prevent the spread of invasive species. We’re working to optimize locks and dams and use bioacoustics to detect, deter and eliminate silver carp.

We’re also appropriating $7.5 million this year and $13 million next year to support the good efforts of local governments throughout the state. Finally, we’re investing in the Aquatic Invasive Species Research Center at the University of Minnesota so that top researchers in the field can develop new methods for finding and eradicating invasive species.

This is a great start, but we know we have more work to do. By preventing the spread of these invasive species we can protect our lakes, streams and rivers, and preserve our natural resources for our future generations. And protecting our natural resources helps protect our tourism industry — and the good jobs tourism creates.

We’ll continue doing all that we can to reverse the spreading of aquatic invasive species.

Rep. John Ward, DFL-Baxter

Rep. Joe Radinovich, DFL-Crosby