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Vogel says AIS has attention of legislators

WILLMAR - Rep. Bruce Vogel told the Kandiyohi County Commissioners today that aquatic invasive species has gotten the attention of legislators and that additional funding could be allocated this year.

Kandiyohi County has been involved with efforts to prevent the spread of AIS, especially zebra mussels, from getting into area lakes.

Commissioner Dennis Peterson, who attended a recent statewide round-table on aquatic invasive species, said the Department of Natural Resources is stepping up enforcement and prevention projects but that stiffer penalties for violating rules and additional state funds are needed to protect lakes from environmental and economic disaster.

Vogel, R-Willmar, who attended the county board meeting today, said legislators will consider using funds from the Legacy fund to stop the spread of aquatic invasive species. But said Vogel said he expects some state funding will go to the University of Minnesota to research biological ammunition to kill zebra mussels.

Now that some metro lakes are infested with zebra mussels, Vogel said metro lawmakers are paying attention to the problem and might be more willing to approve harsher penalties for violators.

Meanwhile, Vogel said he expects GOP lawmakers to support a bonding bill in the range of $400 to $500 million.

Gov. Dayton's proposal called for $775 million in spending.

The Legislature reconvenes next week.

Carolyn Lange

A reporter for 35 years, Carolyn Lange covers regional news with the West Central Tribune.

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