Letter to the Editor: Wright County board gets thank you

Wright County board gets thank you for passing AIS ordinance

To the editor:

I would like to thank the Wright County Board of Commissioners for unanimously approving Ordinance 17-1.
The passing of this ordinance is the first step required to create a pilot regional aquatic invasive species (AIS) inspection and decontamination site in Annandale.
The creation of this facility, spearheaded by the Greater Lake Sylvia Association, will be the first-ever experiment of its kind in Minnesota.
Once this pilot receives DNR approval, it will require watercraft inspections before entering lakes Sylvia, John, and Pleasant.
Given the rampant spread of AIS over the past 20 years, plus the recent introduction of a substantially more devastating species known as Starry Stonewort (now in nearby Lake Sylvia and Lake Koronis), I commend all of the board members for demonstrating the political courage to help slow the further spread of these destructive invasives.
As noted at the June 27 public hearing, the ongoing spread of AIS is as much an economic issue as it is an environmental one.
Most lakes in Wright County are already dealing with one or more AIS infestations.
Once lakes become infested with AIS, eradication is almost impossible and managing them with chemical or harvesting treatments is extremely difficult, expensive, and financially burdensome for lake association groups. The fear of discovering any additional AIS in our lakes, especially Zebra Mussels and Starry Stonewort, is something that most local lakes cannot afford—financially or ecologically.
Wright County lakes are the crown jewels of our community. They are wonderful places to recreate, they attract tourist dollars to our area, and they significantly contribute to the county’s tax base.
We desperately need to preserve the quality of the lakes in our area. With the looming threat of Starry Stonewort, the stakes are even higher.
On behalf of the Wright County Coalition of Lake Associations (WCCOLA), we appreciate your bold leadership and willingness to serve as pioneers in this effort!

Kris Olson
St. Michael

Editor’s Note: Olson is a member of WCCOLA Executive Committee