Crow Wing County seeks comments on aquatic invasive species plan
The plan can be viewed at www.crowwing.us/AIS
BRAINERD — The Crow Wing County Land Services Department requests public comments on the proposed 2023 Aquatic Invasive Species Prevention Plan.
The plan can be viewed on the county website at www.crowwing.us/AIS.
Written comments on the plan will be accepted until 5 p.m. Monday, Feb. 6, and may be submitted to Crow Wing County at firstname.lastname@example.org or mailed to 322 Laurel St., Suite 15, Brainerd, MN 56401, attention AIS Plan Comments.
The county board will review the proposed 2023 AIS Prevention Plan at a regularly scheduled meeting in February.
Crow Wing County will host a 2023 AIS Prevention Plan presentation at 10 a.m. Wednesday, Jan. 25. The meeting is open to the public to attend and learn more about the plan.
Those interested may attend virtually via Microsoft TEAMS or in person. Those planning to attend should RSVP to Janele Waterman at Janele.Waterman@crowwing.us or 218-824-1142.
Visit the county’s website at www.crowwing.us/AIS for more information about how to join the online presentation. Topics to be highlighted include watercraft inspections, decontaminations, education and awareness, milfoil treatments, and early AIS detection.
Crow Wing County has been allocated $462,052 by the state Legislature to assist in the prevention of the spread of AIS within county lakes and rivers in 2023. The AIS Prevention Plan proposes to accomplish this through several approaches, including:
- Watercraft inspections: Crow Wing County optimized an online dashboard developed by MAISRC and the USDA Forest Service called AIS Explorer.
This online dashboard uses existing infestation information, water connectivity risk modeling and over 1.6 million boater movement survey results to forecast the introduction risk of four priority AIS (zebra mussels, Eurasian water milfoil, starry stonewort and spiny waterflea) at individual lakes throughout the county.
Crow Wing County also used watercraft inspection per-hour data to determine allocated hours at multiple landings throughout the county. In total, 16,155 watercraft inspection hours are proposed to be allocated at 43 landings in 2023.
- Decontamination units: The county plans to operate the AIS decontamination station, located at the Crosslake Joint Highway Maintenance Facility, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday through Sunday.
The county also plans to operate two mobile decontamination stations located at multiple public landings, including Edward, Lower Hay, Lower Cullen, Pelican-Halverson Bay and Upper South Long that will be open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday through Sunday.
Watercraft users are encouraged to call the Crow Wing County Decon Hotline at 218-824-1055 or text “CWCDECON” to 1-833-258-7509 for more details during the summer season.
Watercraft decontaminations consist of a hot water rinse to kill zebra mussels and, if needed, a high pressure spray to remove AIS from boats, motors, trailers and personal gear.
- Treatment of Eurasian water milfoil: Crow Wing County has 10 lakes infested with milfoil that also have a public access. As in previous years, funds will be allocated for chemical or biological treatment of milfoil in these lakes.
- Education and awareness: In 2023, funds will be granted for up to 25 lake associations that participate in the county’s Starry Search program. Lake associations will receive a $300 grant by sampling lakes with public accesses for AIS.
The $300 grant will cover the cost of materials to build an AIS sampling rake, members' time and monthly reports. Lake associations will work directly with the county’s Environmental Services coordinators to ensure they fulfill all the requirements of the Starry Search program.
The main goal for this program is to stay ahead of starry stonewort infestations within the county.
- Early AIS detection: The county plans to continue to work with area lake associations and an environmental lab to conduct zebra mussel veliger and spiny water flea testing in 2023.
Citizens are encouraged to contact the Land Services Office at 218-824-1010 or email@example.com to discuss AIS or other land use related activities.