DNR plans regional event on invasive species

The Department of Natural Resources will meet with local officials in northwest Minnesota this week to share information about managing aquatic invasive species.

DNR regional planner Molly MacGregor said the DNR is leading the effort to contain invasive species, but local officials and residents play a critical role.

"What the local governments and the local lake associations have done is they are able to shield their lakes," MacGregor said. "They're able to be more proactive in their response, and they're able to -- through their own public awareness campaigns and inspection campaigns -- address the problem before it starts."

She said a goal of the meeting is to strengthen partnerships with counties, tribes and lake associations.

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MacGregor said that collaboration is important when funding is limited, adding that state and local officials can learn from each other's successes and failures.

"The challenge is burnout and sustaining the funding," she said. "Lake associations have been working really hard to do inspections and get the word out. But they can't do it all themselves. So they really need to have some good partnerships with local units of government. And some of the counties are stepping up to the plate."

The DNR's Northwest Minnesota Aquatic Invasive Species Symposium is scheduled for 5 to 7 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 31, and 9 a.m. to noon Friday, Feb. 1, at the Chase on the Lake Hotel and Conference Center, 502 Cleveland Blvd. in Walker, Minn.

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