Lake Vermilion AIS Prevention Activities Underway

St Louis County Commissioners have approved a $62,537 grant to the Vermilion Lake Association (VLA) to support aquatic invasive species (AIS) prevention at Lake Vermilion during 2020. The prevention program includes 6 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 2600-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.”

“We need to be extra vigilant with veligers (zebra mussel larvae) discovered last fall in Lake of the Woods,” continued Grosshauser. Lake of the Woods and Lake Vermilion are both low-calcium lakes believed to be inhospitable to adult zebra mussels.

Countering this growing threat takes an army of volunteers and significant funding. “Our AIS volunteers will donate over 2000 hours in 2020,” said Jeff Lovgren, Lake Vermilion AIS program coordinator. “We cannot do this without their generous time commitment.”

Additional funding for AIS prevention has been provided by a grant from the Initiative Foundation. The multi-year grant, wrapping up in 2020, has allowed the VLA and its partners to pilot ideas to improve watercraft inspection efficiency and to expand boat inspections and early detection activities at resorts. 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, the Bois Forte Band of Chippewa, and the business community around Lake Vermilion.”

Additional information about the Lake Vermilion 2020 AIS program can be found at the VLA website under the “AIS Prevention” tab.

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