'Bold Action Now' on Aquatic Invasive Species is Jan. 14
When Legislative Summit Convenes Jan. 14, 2012
Detroit Lakes Gathering Spotlights What Legislators Can Do In 2012
Session to Protect Minnesota's Public Waters Right Now!
-- When the second Aquatic Invasive Species
Legislative Summit convenes on Saturday, January 14, the gathering of Minnesota legislators, lake associations, tourism, fishing, business and government bodies will be sharply focused on the future of Minnesota's public waters under attack by aquatic
! The Summit begins with a continental breakfast & sponsor exhibits at 8:00am and
concludes at noon with a lunch in the Conference Center at M-State in Detroit Lakes.
The Legislative Summit is open to the public at no charge. A detailed agenda is
! This event will be held just days before senators and representatives convene in St.
Paul for the 2012 session so that the threat posed by aquatic invasive species,
especially zebra mussels, is fresh on the minds of legislators representing the lakes
country. "The threat posed today by the rapid spread of Zebra Mussels and the urgent
need to protect watersheds, rivers and lakes right now has put Minnesota in a crisis.
This is an emergency because once infested, there is no known reversal," said Tera
Guetter, administrator of the Pelican River Watershed District.
! "When we conceived this event back in 2010, our goal was to introduce the
legislators to the threat facing Minnesota from zebra mussels, Eurasian Watermilfoil,
Asian Carp, and other non-native species. In 2012, we look to the future with an agenda
focused on the need for Minnesota to fully implement the law signed by Governor Mark
Dayton in 2011. Containing Zebra Mussels on waters already infested, along with strong
prevention programs, needs to be implemented before open-water 2012. Volunteers,
local units of government and businesses stand ready to engage in this effort, but we
can't do it without a fully-funded comprehensive statewide AIS program," said Dick
Hecock, president, Becker County Coalition of Lake Associations.
Legislative Summit Expanded to Statewide Gathering
! The Legislative Summit is being hosted by Becker County Coalition of Lake
Associations (COLA), the Pelican River Watershed District and the Lake Detroiters
Association. The Summit has grown significantly with expanded co-sponsorships from
across Minnesota and several statewide organizations. Concerned citizens and
legislators from across Minnesota are planning to attend, according to conference
! The Summit also features an expanded exhibit area showcasing the activities and
programs of the event sponsors and other invited organizations.
! The co-sponsors are:
Buffalo-Red Watershed District
Detroit Lakes Regional Chamber of Commerce
City of Detroit Lakes
Douglas Co. COLA
Hubbard Co. COLA
Jack Chivers Realty
Kandiyohi County Lakes Association
Middle Fork Crow River Watershed District
Minnesota Seasonal & Recreational Property Owners (MSRPO)
Otter Tail Co. COLA
Professional Lakes Management
RMB Environmental Laboratories
! The Izaak Walton League, North Country Trail Association, Minnesota Department of
Natural Resources and author Darby Nelson are also exhibitors.
Agenda Focused on Real World Experiences & Legislative Priorities
! Keynote speaker Darby Nelson, author of the critically-acclaimed book For Love of
Lakes, will address how Minnesota's professed love of lakes is repeatedly contradicted
by our actions. In looking ahead to the Summit, Nelson noted, "All of us have to take
invasive species very seriously right now to preserve Minnesota's heritage of 10,000
lakes. If we don't, the damage is irreparable and our way of life altered. "
! The Legislative Summit kicks off with Erika Johnson's very personal story of her
family's four generations and recent experiences on a Zebra Mussel-infested lake. This
homeowner also looks ahead to how zebra mussels are forever altering the summer
memories of the younger generation.
! Fishing tournament director Barry Chouinard of F-M Walleye, Inc. will bring the
angler's perspective to the topic as he addresses how zebra mussels are devastating to
both sport fishing and tourism. Scott Melhaff, owner of The Lodge and Holland House
Best Western draws attention to the impact on tourism and local economies if Zebra
Mussels wash up on the beach of one of his hotels. The impact will be felt in every local
business that directly or indirectly relies on the anglers and visitors.
! With his 40 years of experience in water-quality, Dick Hecock brings a unique
perspective to the Summit. The senior advisor to the Pelican River Watershed District
and president of Becker County COLA has worked extensively with lake associations
and volunteers on watercraft inspections, educational programs and collected data he
relates in a first-hand account of what is actually happening on the front lines of local
efforts to shield lakes from aquatic invasive species.
! Jeff Forester, writer, environmentalist and executive director of MSRPO, returns to
the theme "Bold Action Now" when he delivers the sponsors' legislative priorities the
group wants enacted during the 2012 session which opens on January 24. Among the
bold actions called for, getting the 2011 legislation fully enacted is at the top of the list.
With only about 100 days before open-water 2012, increasing penalties and instituting
funding mechanisms to support statewide and local efforts also are high priorities.
! The public is invited to share their comments and concerns during the Legislative
Summit. The legislators attending will also have the opportunity to speak to the topic.
Expanded Exhibits and Lunch Included in Summit
! The Summit opens at 8:00am with a Continental Breakfast in the exhibit area. Cosponsors
and invited organizations will showcase their efforts, products and services.
! Just as they did in 2011, Zorbaz is sponsoring a pizza lunch with beverages hosted
by MSRPO at the conclusion of the 2012 Summit and exhibits will again be open.
! The Becker County Coalition of Lake Associations represents 3,000 property owners
on 34 lakes throughout Becker County. The most current information can be found on
the group's Facebook page.
! The Pelican River Watershed District was established in 1966 by community leaders
to restore and maintain the health of waters located in the watershed. The watershed in
located in Becker and Otter Tail Counties and covers roughly 160 square miles. More
information can be found at www.prwd.org.
! Lake Detroiters Association represents property owners and businesses on Big and
Little Detroit Lakes. Their website is www.lda-dl.com.
! For additional information on the Aquatic Invasive Species Legislative Summit 2012,