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Tribune Editorial: Combat invasive species

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The state of Minnesota is finally stepping up to address the threat of invasive species.

The threats are serious -- especially with zebra mussels, Asian carp, spiny water fleas and Eurasian watermilfoil. Once any invasive species gains a foothold, it is too late.

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These invasive species may forever change Minnesota -- the land of 10,000 lakes. An invasive species of some type has been discovered in more than 1,000 lakes and streams. These species destroy fish habitat, drive out native species, damage the state's tourism industry and have a negative impact on land values.

Gov. Mark Dayton and lawmakers this week announced a $4 million-a-year plan to fight invasive species.

The plan would be funded by a surcharge of $5 to $15 on three-year canoe and boat licenses.

Some Republicans are opposed to raising any taxes or fees. In this case, that position is penny-wise and pound-foolish.

If the spread of invasive species continues unabated, the economic impact through the decline in Minnesota's tourism industry and property values would be disastrous for the state.

The time has come for the state to act.

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