Sen. Carrie Ruud, R-Breezy Point, introduced legislation to combat aquatic invasive species continuing to pose a threat to Minnesota's lakes and waters.

The legislation provides funding for the Minnesota Aquatic Invasive Species Research Center to conduct research, improve control and management, increase early detection and risk assessment, and ultimately prevent the establishment and spread of key invasive species in Minnesota.

"While our current remedies and management plans allow us to somewhat contain aquatic invasive species, they do not allow us to get at the root of problems that are troubling our lakes, rivers and wetlands," Ruud stated in a news release. "Aquatic invasive species pose a growing threat to our ecosystems, economy, and general way of life here in Minnesota that cannot be ignored. Funding the Minnesota Aquatic Invasive Species Research Center will allow us to continue to develop science-based solutions that will ultimately give us answers to the problems that we face."

Lakes, rivers and wetlands across the state are experiencing an increase in new aquatic invasive species threats. Due to the rise in aquatic invasive species threats, legislation was passed in 2012 to create an Aquatic Invasive Species Cooperative Research Center at the University of Minnesota.

The center is known today as the Minnesota Aquatic Invasive Species Research Center, directed by Dr. Nicholas Phelps, a Brainerd native. Tom Watson from the Whitefish Area Property Owners Association also serves on research center's advisory board.

The Minnesota Aquatic Invasive Species Research Center develops research-based solutions to the state's most concerning AIS threats including Asian carp, zebra mussels, starry stonewort and Eurasian watermilfoil. The center looks to control aquatic invasive species populations, preventing new outbreaks, controlling their spread and managing ecosystems across the state. The center's stated vision is to be a leading research institution that advances research, enhances partnerships across the state, and assists in reducing the impacts of aquatic invasive species on our precious lakes, rivers, and wetlands.

Now, the center has mapped the zebra mussel genome, found new deterrents for Asian carp, implemented the AIS Detector program and more. Ruud's legislation would seek to help ensure the center has the funding needed to continue fighting these threats across the state.