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Minnesota lakes continue to fight invasive species

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Some lake associations and local governments are changing their focus in the battle against invasive species.

According to Minnesota Public Radio, the organizations are frustrated by the Department of Natural Resource's lack of progress in combating them.

The Gull Chain of Lakes Association is taking the lead in the fight. The association was the first to set up a decontamination station to clean boats and prevent the spread of zebra mussels after they were found in Gull Lake in 2010. However, due to challenges the association ended those efforts in 2012.

The group says it now will donate money to the University of Minnesota Aquatic Invasive Species Research Center. The group will still spend some money on prevention to help pay for boat inspectors as well, but will focus resources on a cure.

The center was created by the 2012 legislature. It's mission is to develop biologically and economically sound solutions to control key aquatic invasive species affecting Minnesota's waters.

Ken Stover, the vice chair of the Gull Lake Association told MPR that is where they are going to put their money, he said the lakes need someone to come up with a way to control zebra muscles.

The Associated Press reports that in Hubbard County the focus is still on prevention, and so far it has worked, as zebra mussels have not been found in any of the lakes in the Park Rapids area. There local governments and lake associations have raised $140,000 dollars to hire 22 boat inspectors and run a decontamination station.

Organizations would like to see more state funding, the DNR has about $8.5 million dollars in its budget for fighting invasive aquatic species. The agency expects to have about $1.2 million dollars available in grants for local organizations next year.

The latest full report by the DNR on zebra mussels on Gull Lake can be found by clicking here.

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