Updates on AIS - With summer here and boat traffic being heavy on highways and waterways, it is a good time to think about Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS):
- Rusty Crayfish - WICOLA has been busy trying to reduce the Rusty Crayfish population by intensively trapping them. Charlene Mason is trying to track down information on existing infestions in the US and Canada. We recently worked with USGS to update their website for Non-native species to show every lake that is known to be infested with Rusty Crayfish. http://nas2.er.usgs.gov/viewer/omap.aspx?SpeciesID=214
- Don't be surprised if you see Conservation Corps crews trapping crayfish on the Kawishiwi River at the end of July. They will be working with the USFS to try to stave off the spread of Rusty Crayfish into the BWCAW via the North and South Kawishiwi Rivers.
- Zebra Mussels - With the finding of Zebra Mussels in Crooked Lake near Finland, it is only logical to see if other lakes in the area have conditions that can permit Zebra Mussels to survive. Since their shells are predominantly calcium and this part of the state is typically low in calcium, many of the area lakes are low risk. Lake and Cook Counties, along with MPCA and WICOLA, are adding another bottle to our sampling regime. In August and September, over 40 lakes will be assessed for their susceptibility to zebra mussel infestation. Since we are already taking samples on these lakes, it is a low cost way to assist DNR in their fight against Zebra mussels.
- Funding - You may have heard that the Counties received money to help control AIS. In 2014, Cook, Lake and St. Louis Counties are scheduled to receive $461,623 to fight the spread of AIS. In 2015, the total to these same Counties will exceed one million dollars! If you have ideas/issues to be considered, contact your county representatives since they are looking for input on how best to use the funding.
- Blueberry Festival - Don't forget to stop by and talk to experts and neighbors who will be staffing a booth and sharing information on AIS.
- Prevention - Continue to be dligent in following procedures for ridding your (and your guest's) boats, fishing tackle, etc. if they are used on other lakes. Also, report any evidence of AIS on our lakes and others. There are still Rusty Crayfish traps available to members to use if you want to join your neighbors in ridding our lakes of these invasive species.