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State officials seek ways to keep invasive species out of Minnesota waters

There's lots of action at the Capitol these days on a range of issues that will try to keep invasive species out of Minnesota waters.

The urgency increased when three Asian carp were caught recently in the Mississippi River near Winona, says the St. Cloud Times.

Plans in the works, the paper said, include:

  • Asking President Obama and Congress to direct the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to expedite permits and allow deterrents or barriers at several locks and dams on the Mississippi to stop or slow the northern advance of carp.
  • A proposed $3.8 million research center at the University of Minnesota to look for solutions.
  • Proposals offering the state more powers to limit the ways invasive species can be moved from one place to another and applying a surcharge on watercraft for a long-term funding source.
  • Gov. Mark Dayton wants to borrow $12 million for barriers in rivers and boat-decontamination stations at public-access spots.

Legislators were quoted saying that long-term solutions are needed, and that there's bipartisan support.

Sen. Bill Ingebrigtsen, R-Alexandria, chairman of the Senate environment committee: "We can’t just keep coming up with some one-time money."

Rep. Denny McNamara, R-Hastings, chairman of the House environment committee: "We need to deal with this now. There are even a few folks who don’t think we’re going far enough … What’s really encouraging is this is one of the few things where it’s bipartisan. Both bodies and the governor are singing off the same sheet of music — that we need to take this seriously and move forward with it."

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