10/19/2018 10:45:00 AM Task force to update AIS management plan Cass County Board
MONICA LUNDQUIST Cass County Correspondent
BACKUS-Environmental Services Director John Ringle obtained Cass County Board approval Tuesday, Oct. 16, to reconvene the county's Aquatic Invasive Species Task Force to update the county's AIS Management Plan.
Cass was the first county in the state to write such a plan. Ringle said it now should be updated to keep the plan current.
Cass County Soil and Water Conservation District Board was assigned the duty of distributing grant money each year to applicants seeking to fund projects to stop the spread of aquatic invasive species in the county's waterways.
The SWCD Board now is receiving numerous applications for funding each year and would like to seek an update to the plan to help them prioritize where to spend available money, Ringle said.
The original task force included representatives of lake associations, SWCD Board, a Cass County Board member and county agencies. Tuesday, the board added a Mississippi Headwaters Board representative to the re-convened task force and named Commissioner Scott Bruns to represent the county board.
Cass County has 514 lakes more than 10 acres in size and 129 public water accesses, with 79 of those permitting trailers to be backed into the water. There are additional accesses at privately owned resorts and marinas.
Much of what Cass County spent over the last five years to prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species was for inspectors to educate the public at public accesses about ways to identify AIS and to prevent the spread of AIS from lake to lake. Inspectors also inform people where to get their boats decontaminated and about state laws designed to prevent AIS spread.
Ringle also obtained board approval Tuesday for an agreement with Chad Knudson, owner of the Corner Store Depot at Pillager, for a new location on his property where the county recycle bins will be located.
The 10-year agreement may be extended at the end of 10 years. It may be canceled by either party with 90-days prior notice.
The $18,520 the county spent to provide a new paved access to the site and new cement slab for the bins will be amortized over 10 years. If the site continues in use for the full 10 years, Knutson will owe the county nothing for the improvements on his land. If it is canceled sooner, he would owe a declining amount, based on the remaining portion of the 10 years.
Leech Lake Watershed Foundation is seeking accreditation as a trust fund for conservation easements from Land Trust Accreditation Commission in Saratoga Springs, N.Y.
Tuesday, the Cass County Board approved sending a letter of support for this accreditation.
Having accreditation gives Leech Lake Watershed Foundation more authority to enforce terms of conservation easements after they have been designated, according to John Sumption, who represented the foundation at Tuesday's meeting. It also will qualify the foundation for more conservation easement money in the future, Sumption said.
He also noted because the foundation is seeking this accreditation, Leech Lake Watershed Foundation is changing its name to Northern Waters Lake Trust.
The county board approved three land reclassifications, which the planning commission approved at its Oct. 8 meeting.
Forty acres of a 358-acre parcel the Babinski Foundation owns in Homebrook Township will be reclassified from Agriculture/Forest to Commercial-2.
Darlene Olson's 20.34 acres in Wilson Township will be reclassified from Agriculture/Forest to Rural Residential-20.
Gary Lee Wolf's 39.05 acres in Blind Lake Township will be reclassified from Agriculture/Forest to Rural Residential-10.
Second publication rights after Brainerd Dispatch.