Thursday, February 21, 2019

Maintaining Whitefish -- Don't Let Invasive Species In!

Let's get deep for a second. Let's talk about one of the most incredible aspects of Camp Foley. Let's put aside the friendships and the skills learned over a summer for just a minute. We're going to discuss how fortunate we are to be located on such an amazing body of water. Lower Whitefish Lake is an ideal setting for so many people to learn how to ski, sail, swim, fish - you name it. Whitefish makes it happen.

Campers Snorkeling in Whitefish Lake

The topic that is heavy on our minds is AIS, or aquatic invasive species. Keeping our lakes clean is such a priority to us at Foley, as it is a big part of who we are. We have worked closely with our local lake association (WAPOA) and a few members of the Foley team were trained as DNR volunteers to check boats going into and coming out of the Whitefish Chain for these aquatic invasive species. We feel fortunate that we were able to be trained in this and feel proud that we are protecting our lakes. Campers also had the opportunity to sign up to come shadow us as we checked boats so they felt they contributed to the greater good of our chain as well.

Here's where things get tricky.
Even with our stepped up efforts, over the past few years we have seen a few changes occurring in our treasured lake. Changes due to zebra mussels making their way into Whitefish. With no direct way to get rid of the zebra mussels, we now need to do a better job at ensuring more invasive species don't get in and do what we can to manage the AIS we do have.

Now down to some facts and where you all can help stop the spread of AIS.
Up until 2018 the DNR offered grants to lake associations to go directly toward managing aquatic invasive species. A good portion of these funds went directly to staffing the landings with boat inspectors. In 2018 no grants were available and that is the same for 2019. This means the DNR and volunteers spent 7,500 fewer hours at lake landings inspecting boats in 2018. Senators are currently working to pass a law that would allow for $1 million of General Fund money for matching grants to lake associations for controlling aquatic invasive species.  Lake associations do not have the means to fund their efforts alone, so this law would provide means for continued prevention of the spread of AIS and ultimately keep Whitefish as pristine as possible. We need to be part of this effort together.

As a population who utilizes one of Minnesota's gorgeous lakes, I encourage you all to click the "Take Action" button below to send an email to ask our senator to support this legislation. Let's work to keep the Whitefish water quality high for generations and generations to come. You can also donate directly to WAPOA is this is something that you directly would like to support!

"While AIS is a statewide problem, for too long the costs have been local. Lake Associations deserve support in the work they do to protect the public good of healthy lake ecosystems." - Jeff Forester, Executive Director at Minnesota Lakes and Rivers Advocates 


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