DNR Invasive Species Strategy
The US Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is taking action against the invasive species epidemic. A new strategy was unveiled at the DNR roundtable meeting in the Twin Cities that will increase inspections and fines of the water vehicles that unknowingly carry non-natives, according to the Duluth News Tribune.
An effective, economical strategy is vital in order to control invasive intruders such as the zebra mussel which threatens ecosystems by suffocating native mussels and fish through starvation. The Minneapolis Star Tribune reports that the total poundage of baitfish in Lake Michigan dropped from 450,000 tons in 1989 to 30,000 tons in 2008, a record low, due to zebra mussels. The zebra mussel has already taken over 19 lakes in Minnesota and the Mississippi, and its population is expected to explode this summer.
Commercial transportation and ordinary boaters travelling from foreign places unintentionally spread non-native species. Fines and enforcement of vehicle inspection laws are inconsistent and the DNR formal action plan is seeking legislative approval for new synchronizing efforts. It’s a much needed step in the fight against harmful invasive species.