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Reduced funding for aquatic invasive species frustrates Crow Wing County

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outdoors Brainerd, 56401
Brainerd MN 506 James St. / PO Box 974 56401

Crow Wing County officials expressed frustration Tuesday with reduced funding to fight aquatic invasive species.

Chris Pence, land services supervisor, said in the past the county received $7,750 and anticipated $5,000 from the Department of Natural Resources to help fund inspections at boat landings this year. Pence said the state grant may actually be $4,000. With the Legislature increasing funding to fight the invasive species, County Administrator Tim Houle asked how a lake-rich area like Crow Wing County have its funding cut.

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Pence said more money is going to fight the invasive species but more counties are also asking for funding, stretching the pot.

Pence said he sent an email to all lake associations and said this could result in higher cost or decreased hours for boat inspections on area lakes.

Commissioner Paul Thiede said the frustration comes in aquatic invasive species largely distributed through public accesses and reduced funding means the county is being asked to throw in more money just to stay even with last year.

Thiede likened it to a bait-and-switch, getting counties into the program and then pulling back funding.

“It does raise the question: Where is the money going?” asked Mark Liedl, land services director.

Houle said this may be a message area legislators will want to hear — that after putting more money toward fighting aquatic invasive species, the net effect is Crow Wing County is getting less.

RENEE RICHARDSON may be reached at 855-5852 or renee.richardson@brainerddispatch.com. Follow on Twitter at www.twitter.com/Dispatchbizbuzz.

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