Action is needed on invasive species

By: West Central Tribune of Willmar, DL-Online

Kandiyohi County Commissioner Dennis Peterson is very concerned about the issue of invasive species and area lakes.

Peterson is frustrated about the lack of action by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources and the Legislature on the invasive issue around the state.

Peterson and other Kandiyohi County commissioners are correct to be concerned.

Zebra mussels were found recently in lakes in the Alexandria area of Douglas County. That area is very close to Kandiyohi County. Peterson reported Tuesday that property values on those lakes have already dropped 30 percent.

If zebra mussels are not stopped from invading Green Lake and other county lakes, there will be a corresponding decline of real values on Kandiyohi County lakes. The same thing can happen in other counties in the region. This will, in turn, have an impact on every other property owner — homeowner or business.

A 30 percent decline on Green Lake and other county lake property would have a significant impact on the Kandiyohi County tax base.

As some property owners on county lakes have been saying, the threat of zebra mussels and other invasive species is not just an issue for lake property owners.

While Green Lake and other lake property owners in the county have been investing funding in prevention of the spread of invasive species into Kandiyohi County, their efforts only go so far. More significant and organized efforts are needed to prevent the spread of invasive species into Kandiyohi County.

Interested Kandiyohi County citizens are encouraged to attend a meeting at 1 p.m. Friday at the Douglas County Library in Alexandria, hosted by Sen. Bill Ingebrigtsen, chairman of the Senate Environment and Natural Resources Committee.

We commend Peterson, the rest of the County Board and Green Lake and other lake property owners for their efforts thus far in preventing invasive species, especially zebra mussels, so far in Kandiyohi County.

The time has come for all Kandiyohi County citizens to recognize the danger of invasive species, especially zebra mussels. We must speak up and call for quicker action and better efforts in the battle against invasive species by DNR officials and the Legislature. — West Central Tribune of Willmar