2018 Lake Vermilion AIS Program Gets Underway

After several months of planning, reviews and funding applications, the Vermilion Lake Association (VLA) has formally kicked off its 2018 aquatic invasive species (AIS) prevention activities. The prevention program at Lake Vermilion includes over 20 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 2400-member lake association. “About 16,000 boats launch at Vermilion’s 40 public and private accesses 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.”

Countering this growing threat takes an army of volunteers and significant funding. “Our AIS volunteers will donate over 3000 hours in 2018,” said Jeff Lovgren, Lake Vermilion AIS program leader. “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 $59,000 grant to support AIS projects during 2018. Last October, the Initiative Foundation approved two grants totaling $93,000 over two years to pilot ideas to improve watercraft inspection efficiency at Vermilion’s public accesses and to increase boat inspections and early-detection activities at lake businesses.

“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 Burntside Lake Association, the Bois Forte Band of Chippewa, and the business community around Lake Vermilion. That partnership will become even stronger in 2018.”

Additional information about the projects in the Lake Vermilion 2018 AIS program can be found at the VLA website www.VermilionLakeAssociation.org under the “AIS Prevention” tab.

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