Lake Vermilion AIS Prevention Funding Approved

A DNR-trained AIS inspector checks a boat and trailer at the Fraser Bay public access, one of 17 public accesses on Lake Vermilion.

TOWER and COOK—St Louis County Commissioners have authorized the distribution of $96,396 to the Vermilion Lake Association to support aquatic invasive species (AIS) prevention projects at Lake Vermilion during 2017.

In addition, the North St Louis Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) will receive $281,600 for boat inspection and boat operator education activities at Vermilion and Burntside in 2017. The majority of that funding will be used at Vermilion’s 40 public and private boat accesses and two centrally located boat cleaning stations.

“We are pleased St Louis County will be using a portion of their Aquatic Invasive Species Prevention Aid to support our AIS efforts at Lake Vermilion,” said Terry Grosshauser, president of the 2400-member lake association. “Lake Vermilion is a northern Minnesota treasure, attracting fishermen and recreational boaters from all over the Midwest.”

Jeff Lovgren, Lake Vermilion AIS program leader, estimates 16,000 boats launch at Vermilion each year. “With serious vegetation threats like starry stonewort expanding rapidly in Minnesota lakes last year, we must do all we can to protect Lake Vermilion and its business community,” said Lovgren.

To counter the growing threat, many resorts and marinas will be participating in the AIS boat inspection project in 2017, adding to the 13,000 inspections planned at public accesses. Volunteer sentries will periodically check the vegetation at high-traffic accesses to detect new AIS infestations early when more eradication options are available.

The Lake Vermilion AIS Prevention Plan includes over 20 projects in four major areas: watercraft inspection and cleaning, public education, early detection and population management, and regional partnership development.

“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, the North St Louis SWCD, the Burntside Lake Association, the Bois Forte Band of Chippewa, and the business community around Lake Vermilion. That partnership will become even stronger in 2017.”

Read eVermilion