The Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) inspectors who helped protect the waters in Outing in Cass County and Emily in Crow Wing County were invited to an Appreciation Cookout at Luscher Park in Outing on Sunday, Sept. 8.
The total inspection effort deployed more than 2,000 hours of DNR-trained inspector hours on the Emily-Outing area boat launches during the summer months, investing more than $29,000 as a combination of DNR funds, LGU funds and lake association donations.
The event’s hosts were the local organizations that worked most closely with the DNR to run the effort: the Crooked Lake Township (CLT) Board, the CLT AIS Committee, the Washburn Lake Association, the city of Emily/Ruth Lake LID, and the Roosevelt And Lawrence Area Lakes Association (RALALA).
DNR Interns were invited, but they were already back in their classrooms. Other than the DNR Interns, the AIS inspectors were hired through Employment Resource Center in Brainerd and all were trained by the DNR as AIS Level 1 Inspectors.
The effort was to say “thanks” to these hard-working folks who put in many hours to greet and educate citizens, and to inspect watercraft entering and leaving the local lakes. Many hundreds of hours were involved in this year’s coordinated tactics to reduce the odds of spreading AIS into neighborhood lakes. AIS education of all water users is a basic key to helping stop that spread.
At present, the most feared AIS critters are zebra mussels (ZM), who outcompete small fish and other bait feed within the aquatic food chain. Since ZMs arrived in Lake Mille Lacs about five years ago, the walleyes are at an all-time low, with no “abundant class” for the future.
The razor-edged ZM shells are known to cut human flesh. Also, ZM feces collect in lake bottom pools in which deadly botulism then forms, and which subsequently kills loons and other diving birds. More than 900 loons died around Lake Michigan in 2012, and botulism is the most likely suspect.