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Stopping aquatic invasive species (new law)

Published (5/25/2012)
By Bob Geiger
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Land purchases and funding for aquatic invasive species projects are the primary focus of the 2012 omnibus Legacy Funding law, which provides $99.9 million for prairie, forest and wetlands projects for Outdoor Heritage Fund projects in fiscal year 2013.

Sponsored by Rep. Dean Urdahl (R-Grove City) and Sen. Bill Ingebrigtsen (R-Alexandria), the law includes $11.3 million to defend Minnesota waters against Asian carp and other aquatic invasive species. That funding is part of the $28.62 million devoted to habitats.

The largest portion of that funding, $7.5 million, will be appropriated to the Department of Natural Resources to design, construct, operate and evaluate structural deterrents against the fish.

The University of Minnesota will receive $1.8 million to create an Aquatic Invasive Species Cooperative Research Center. The university will collaborate with the DNR to develop aquatic invasive species controls. A portion of the funding will be spent to educate Minnesotans on how to prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species. The remaining $2.5 million will be available to accelerate existing aquatic invasive species program funding, including a best management practices program for public water access facilities and $50,000 to produce a documentary about the challenges presented by the spread of aquatic invasive species.

The law also contributes:

• $31.14 million for wetlands, including $13.81 million to acquire permanent conservation easements and restore wetlands and associated upland habitat in cooperation with the United

States Department of Agriculture Wetlands Reserve Program;

• $24.64 million for prairie projects, including: $4.3 million for the DNR to accelerate restoration and enhancement of wildlife management areas, scientific and natural areas and land under native prairie bank easements; and

• $15.3 million for forests, including $11.04 million for the Mississippi Northwoods Habitat Complex. Located near Brainerd, the 1,882-acre tract gives the state valuable river frontage.

Other funding includes a framework for a film production jobs program to be administered by the Minnesota Film and TV Board and overseen by the Department of Administration. A related effort designed to attract feature film producers to Minnesota is a $600,000 incentive program. Funding for the incentive program will be dispersed by the board and the Independent Feature Project/Minnesota.

Funding of $80,000 will be appropriated to commemorate the sesquicentennial of the American Civil War and Dakota Conflict — $50,000 to the Minnesota Public Television Association and $30,000 for public radio grants. The law also contains $35,000 to create a searchable historical rulemaking website for state agency rulemaking.

HF2430/ SF2493*/CH264

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