New law to fund invasive species research

Gov. Mark Dayton has signed a Legacy bill into law that provides more than $10 million for a new invasive species research center at the University of Minnesota.

About $4 million will be used as startup funds for the center.

"The more people we have working on this the better; it's a very challenging issue," said Peter Sorensen, a university professor of fisheries, wildlife and conservation biology who will help lead the center. "There might still be time to stop some of them; that would be the hope."

Aquatic invasive species pose a threat to Minnesota's lakes and rivers by interrupting ecosystems and altering water quality, Sorensen said.

"The real concern about these things is at least right now, with a lack of solutions, is that the changes appear to be almost permanent," he said. "It's hard to go back."

Sorensen said the center will be one of just a few nationwide dedicated to invasive species. The center will look not only at ways to prevent the spread of invasive species, but also at ways to detect them using genetic techniques.

The Legacy bill the governor signed also contains money to build barriers to prevent the spread of invasive carp.

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