New Infestation Response Plan (NIRP)
By Jeff Forester
We invest in early detection of Aquatic Invasive Species. Over 220 lake association members have taken the Early Detectors training offered by the Minnesota Aquatic Invasive Species Research Center. Hundreds of lake associations are using “settling plates” and other tools to find early infestations of zebra mussels. We do lake surveys. Hundreds of lake home and cabin owners participate in the annual “Starry Trek” search for new infestations of starry stonewort.
Early detection of an AIS can provide more management options, and in rare cases, eradication. But here’s the rub, once an AIS is discovered, particularly one that is new to the state–what to do? The MN DNR no longer has any grants available for emergency treatments. Typically they confirm the infestation and report it. Treatment and eradication efforts are mostly up to the local community.
Without a plan in place that includes a step-by-step progression, funding sources, treatment options, potential applicators and partners lined up in advance, the advantage of early detection is lost.
Working together in a Civic Governance demonstration pilot, Ramsey County AIS coordinator Justin Townsend, MLR staff, a group of active lake association leaders, MAISRC, and DNR have developed a New Infestation Response Plan (NIRP) that lake associations can use to help protect their lakes. On July 18, 2018 MLR hosted a free webinar to make this tool available statewide. A recording of this webinar is available for free online: www.anymeeting.com/862-031793/E957D98684463A
Why use the New Infestation Response Plan, NIRP:
- Prevention is a critical focus of any AIS plan, BUT should a lake become infested, the MN DNR typically does not contribute funds to help a lake association manage the infestation. Lake associations need a plan in case any AIS is discovered.
- There are examples of a quick response to a new AIS infestation reducing the infestation to a nearly unmeasurable levels. Early action on AIS is often cheaper in the long run than a delayed response.
- Using the New Infestation Response Plan will help define roles, create partnerships and define agreements that will serve your lake association beyond Aquatic Invasive Species protection and management.
- The NIRP streamlines and informs planning, treatment options, funding sources, permitting processes and builds partnerships towards a common purpose
When a broad cross sector base of local leaders comes together to identify problems, contribute resources, and take action together, Minnesota’s lakes and rivers benefit. MLR works to build these links in order to protect Minnesota’s lakes and rivers for future generations.
It is a proven strategy.
This New Infestation Response Plan (NIRP) is a great example of what can be accomplished when active citizens and leaders from different groups and constituencies come together to get work done. By building this type of local “civic infrastructure’ around water, and building community capacity for water efforts, we will move Minnesota forward in our efforts to not only prevent the further spread of AIS, but solve other challenging water quality issues as well.