Image of zebra mussels attached to a dock.

County lake association members, others from Otter Tail County and area county residents traveled to Detroit Lakes on June 8 to learn about initiatives developed by the University of Minnesota Aquatic Invasive Species Research Cen-
ter.

“Even with the best of intentions, we cannot solve the problems of today with the solutions from yesterday,” said U of M AIS Research Center Director Nicholas Phelps. “Our center has been working to develop science-based solutions to reduce the impacts of AIS in Minnesota waters.”

The day-long forum included an overview and research on carp viruses, Zebra Mussel research, the fight against Starry Stonewort (invasive algae) and the impacts of Spiny Waterflea on walleye populations.

“We need to spend money now to do more research and fight AIS,” said Dennis Kral, Pelican River Watershed District president. “Kicking the can down the road will result in big time money needed in a few more years in order to save our area lakes.”

“Informing county residents and visitors about AIS is a continual process,” added Kral. “We need to tell the story about what needs to be done.”

Agreeing with Kral are Spencer McGrew, Otter Tail County’s Aquatic Invasive Species Task Force specialist, and Bernie Steeves, AIS Task Force chairman and member of the Otter Tail Property Owners Association.

Minnesota DNR representatives stress that AIS prevention necessitates partnerships between counties and agencies “that are robust, adaptive and effective.”

Otter Tail County Coalition of Lake Associations (COLA) President Sylvia Soeth is among those who believe that solving water problems in area lakes will require not only broad partnerships but also education, scientific advancements and political will.

Agreeing with this philosophy is Jerry Horgan, COLA member and president of the West Battle Lake Association.

Horgan, as a COLA volunteer, has worked especially hard in recent years involving students with lake preservation.

The Otter Tail County Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) Task Force continues to take a proactive approach in stopping the spread of invasives throughout the county.

Over the years the county AIS Task Force has taken a proactive approach to stopping the spread of invasive species such as zebra mussels throughout the county.

The task force emphasizes that boaters and fishermen throughout the county, residents and visitors alike, have the responsibility to inspect boats, trailers and equipment and remove visible aquatic plants.