AIS Prevention to Benefit Lake Vermilion in 2019

After several months of planning, reviews and funding applications, the Vermilion Lake Association (VLA) has formally kicked off its 2019 aquatic invasive species (AIS) prevention activities. The prevention program at Lake Vermilion includes over 15 projects, with special emphasis on watercraft inspections and on early detection of new infestations.

“The AIS challenge at Vermilion is very large,” said Terry Grosshauser, president of the 2500-member lake association. “About 16,000 boats launch at Vermilion’s 40 public and private accesses each year. With serious vegetation threats like hybrid watermilfoil and starry stonewort expanding rapidly in Minnesota lakes, we must do all we can to protect Lake Vermilion and its business community.”

Countering this growing threat takes an army of volunteers and significant funding. “Our AIS volunteers will donate over 2000 hours in 2019,” said Jeff Lovgren, Lake Vermilion AIS program coordinator. “We cannot do this without their generous time commitment.”

Funding for AIS prevention is provided by donations to the VLA and by grants from St Louis County and the Initiative Foundation. St Louis County Commissioners recently approved a $36,000 grant to support AIS projects during 2019.

In 2017, the Initiative Foundation approved grants totaling $93,000 through June 2020 to pilot ideas to improve watercraft inspection efficiency at Vermilion’s public accesses and to increase boat inspections and early detection activities at Vermilion’s resorts, campgrounds and marinas. This funding was provided from the Outdoor Heritage Fund, as appropriated by the Minnesota State Legislature.

“Strong partnerships make this difficult and complex task possible,” continued Lovgren. “We are pleased with the close working relationship that has developed among our lake association, North St Louis Soil and Water Conservation District, Burntside Lake Association, Bois Forte Band of Chippewa, and the business community around Lake Vermilion. That partnership will become even stronger in 2019.”

Additional information about the Lake Vermilion 2019 AIS program can be found at the VLA website under the “AIS Prevention” tab.

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