Can Legacy funds be used to fight aquatic invasive species?

Author:
Updated:
Original:

The council that recommends how the state should spend Legacy Fund money is criticizing a plan to handle invasive species that it created for being too vague and possibly violating the intent of the constitutional amendment.

MPR News reports that the Lessard Sams Outdoor Heritage Council on Thursday sent the project back for more work and will again consider the plan at its December meeting.

The $3.6 million dollar proposal aims to figure out the best way to spend Legacy money to help fight against invasive species in Minnesota's lakes and rivers. The plan was created by the council after members rejected other aquatic invasive species projects proposed by the Minnesota Coalition of Lake Associations and the Minnehaha Creek Watershed.

If approved in December, the program would be managed by the Initiative Foundation. The foundation's vice president for community and economic development, Don Hickman agreed to come back to the council with more details, but that might not be the only challenge.

The Legacy Amendment states that Outdoor Heritage Fund money must be used to "preserve, restore and enhance" habitat.

Council member Jane Kingston told MPR, "I don't think there are projects that meet the constitutional amendment. That's why we haven't provided funding to date."

Kingston added that they are concerned about aquatic invasive species, but she doesn't believe their structure provides for that sort of activity.

Minnesota Department of Natural Resources officials have said they support the proposal, but the DNR has generally agreed that the Legacy outdoors money can't be used to fight aquatic invasive species.

The DNR has $8.5 million in its budget to use in the fight against aquatic invasive species. That has not been able to do enough for lake associations, who are growing frustrated by the lack of progress in fighting them.

Even if the council approves the proposal, the state Legislature has the final say on how Legacy funds are distributed.

Next Up

Byron Buxton

Twins talking contract extension with Byron Buxton

The Twins are 88-38 over the past two seasons with Buxton in the lineup.

minneapolis police

Police arrest man in connection to deadly Minneapolis hit-and-run

The victim died the scene in north Minneapolis on Friday.

Jordan Greenway

Wild's fast start vanishes in loss to Coyotes

Arizona scored five unanswered goals in a 5-2 loss.

Screen Shot 2021-03-06 at 4.12.00 PM

Police seeking tips in search for road rage shooting suspect

The incident took place in Maplewood last week.

Paige Bueckers

Paige Bueckers lands on Wooden Award list for women's college basketball

The Hopkins grad is the only freshman on the 15-player ballot.

Jamal Mashburn Jr.

Gophers fall under .500 after OT loss to Rutgers

The Gophers are under .500 for the first time this season.

police tape, crime scene

Man arrested for killing of his father in Wabasha County

The 73-year-old man was found dead at a home in rural Zumbro Falls.

Related

Report: Millions spent annually fighting aquatic invasive species in Minnesota

A new report, commissioned by The Nature Conservancy, says Minnesota spends nearly $8 million a year fighting aquatic invasive species. Minnesota Public Radio notes the fight is complicated because there is no single method to control all the different types of invasive species.

Senate Republicans propose using Legacy Amendment funds to create invasive species research center

The new $3.8 million center at the University of Minnesota would focus on developing ways to fight aquatic species like zebra mussels and Asian carp.