Raising awareness on invasive species

Visitors to the popular Game Fair near Anoka, taking place this weekend and next, will see a booth and speakers addressing the issue of Asian carp and other aquatic invaders.

A coalition of outdoors and environmental groups is organizing the effort. They say the fair is a good opportunity to raise pressure on state and federal officials to do more to prevent the spread of destructive invasive species.

Gary Botzek directs the Minnesota Conservation Federation, which advocates for barriers to slow the spread of Asian carp in the Mississippi River.

"The St. Anthony lock and dam could be closed as a natural barrier," Botzek says, "to stop carp from going up. That legislation, as you know, has been introduced by Sen. [Amy] Klobuchar and in the House as well. But it needs to be addressed: No hearings have been scheduled, and we'd like to see action there."

Botzek says he also wants to keep the pressure on state legislators to do more in the next session.

Duck hunters and others who love the outdoors should be reminded that DNA traces of the leaping silver carp have been found above the Coon Rapids Dam on the Mississippi River, Botzek adds.

"That's disconcerting, because the next step north of Anoka is tributaries that lead right into Mille Lacs Lake," he says.

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