In response to considerable public input, the Minnehaha Creek Watershed District (MCWD) Board of Managers amended the District’s preliminary 2013 budget to include an additional $250,000 for enhanced stop-gap measures to prevent the spread of Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) in 2013. The amendment was approved at the MCWD Board meeting on Thursday, August 23 and is contingent on final Board approval by December.
The extra funds will allow the District’s AIS Task Force to continue working on a long-term AIS management plan and supports a stronger 2013 stop gap plan pending final approval later this year. The MCWD’s current stop-gap measures include cost-share funding for inspectors, educational materials and public awareness activities.
The residents and stakeholders in the District have been vocal in their desire to prevent the spread of AIS. One local group presented an aggressive, $2.4 million AIS management proposal for 2013 at a recent Board workshop meeting. No action was taken on the proposal. However, the Board recognized the concerns that without adequate funding in 2013, AIS could spread to un-infested water bodies in the District.
“The public interest in protecting our lakes and streams from AIS was heard loud and clear at that meeting and in the days following,” said MCWD Board President James Calkins. “The District is committed to doing whatever it can to both prevent the spread of AIS and preserve access to these precious resources for all to enjoy.”
The 2013 recommended levy is $7,992,006. For a median value home in Hennepin County ($247,900) the levy equates to approximately $3/month. The MCWD’s original budget represented a zero percent property tax levy increase and would have been the fourth year in which the Board maintained a flat District’s levy. The additional $250,000 to protect waterbodies from AIS will increase the levy by approximately three percent.