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We need to take care of our lakes

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opinion Bemidji,Minnesota 56619 http://www.bemidjipioneer.com/sites/all/themes/bemidjipioneer_theme/images/social_default_image.png
Bemidji Pioneer
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We need to take care of our lakes
Bemidji Minnesota P.O. Box 455 56619

Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) has become a danger to our natural resources over the last couple of years in Minnesota. Aquatic Invasive Species are animals and plants that have been transported from one aquatic area to another where they cause a biological diversity loss. Aquatic species can be carried by boats, animals, and commercial vehicles, etc.

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According to the DNR website, "They (AIS) are the major cause of biological diversity loss throughout the world, and are considered 'biological pollutants.' Their populations can often rapidly increase allowing them to disrupt native plant communities and crowd out native species. By changing habitat, they can also affect species beyond those they may directly displace. They can cause problems for those who use natural resources, whether for recreational use of land or waters or industrial use of public waters."

At the legislature we are working hard to find a solution for this growing problem. In the Environment, Energy and Natural Resources Policy Bill, Senate File 1115 include policies to combat these invasive species.

We are blessed with many wonderful lakes and natural resources but AIS is putting those precious natural resources in danger. We must take action to limit this problem. Since the finance portion of the omnibus bill has passed the house and now the policy portion has passed we can finalize the omnibus bill that will fund and make laws that will help to eliminate AIS. In the game and fish portion of the bill there are strict rules regarding boats and traveling from lake to lake in an increased effort to reduce the spread of AIS. We need to make sure that water equipment coming from an infected area is decontaminated and cleaned.

We will need a lot of local support on this issue to help state officials combating this problem. The state is investing dollars and we need to make sure that the solution is a state-wide cooperative effort. This is an area that we can all participate in and make sure that this issue is taken care of. We need to take care of our lakes and make sure that they are in their best condition.

We are the land of (over) 10,000 lakes. With your help and the help of the DNR we can contain the areas that are infected and we continue looking for ways to best eliminate this problem.

Dave Hancock, R-Bemidji, represents District 2B in the Minnesota House of Representatives.

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Pioneer staff reports
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