AIS planning, prevention
Success stories in the fight to stop the spread of Eurasian water milfoil and other aquatic invasive species (AIS) are visible in the results of the latest Department of Natural Resources grant cycle, which show a great deal of the money is being spent on planning and prevention.
The February grant cycle will bring to Vilas, Oneida and Forest counties a total of about $758,000, with the monies coming mainly from a state boating account funded by gas tax and boat registration revenues.
Because existing infestations have been intensely managed in recent years, including Eurasian water milfoil on the Eagle River Chain, there were fewer bodies of water requiring large sums of money for control projects. Phelps received funding for control projects on Long Lake and on North and South Twin lakes.
The good news this spring is that more than $270,000 of the total will be used by lake associations, rehabilitation districts and town lakes committees for long-term lake planning and prevention efforts.
For the first time, about $77,000 of those prevention dollars will go toward the Clean Boats Clean Waters program that puts watercraft inspectors at boat landings throughout the area. They say an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, and that is a lot of wisely invested money that will help keep invasive milfoil and other exotics out of the 95% of waterways that are still AIS free.
It’s important to note once again that historically, these grant monies might have never been made available if it weren’t for the work done by former assemblyman Dan Meyer of Eagle River. As a member of the joint finance committee several years ago during the first Doyle Administration, Meyer rerouted about $4 million annually in land acquisition dollars for boat launches and replaced the lost money with Stewardship Fund dollars. It must have been a great idea because Gov. Doyle didn’t veto the budget bill measure.
The three-county grant total doesn’t include a $100,000 grant awarded to Vilas County to help fund a full-time invasive species coordinator over the next three years. That’s great news for a lake-blessed county that was forced to make application with the DNR after it lost federal funding from the Department of Agriculture.
Snomo trail organizations
Trail grooming organizations in Vilas, Oneida and Forest counties deserve a big round of applause for giving us some of the best February and March snowmobiling we’ve ever witnessed, evidenced by public feedback.
A slow start to the season caused solely by a lack of snow didn’t prevent groomers from maximizing the potential of our scenic trail network. They gave business owners a chance to salvage at least some of their snowmobile-based winter recreation revenue.
Once again, it is community-minded volunteers who make these award-winning trail systems possible. They are the ones who raise the funds, secure the private easements, brush and mark trails, and run the groomers.
Behind the editorial ‘we’
Members of the Vilas County News-Review editorial board include Publisher Kurt Krueger, Editor Gary Ridderbusch and Assistant Editor Anthony Drew.
|Tuesday, April 09, 2013 2:04 PM|