The county’s aquatic invasive species program is running well, AIS Coordinator Bill Grantges told the Itasca County Board of Commissioners at their regular meeting last week.
The Itasca County program is part of a statewide initiative, but is unique and particularly successful because it operates across six different priority areas including; prevention, early detection, control monitoring and research, community action programs, communication and awareness and the Itasca County database/legal systems.
Last year, the program conducted nearly 10,000 inspections, which had an overall failure rate of about 13 percent. Grantges told commissioners that inspections have successfully stopped the launch of several boats infested with zebra mussels. Due to the awareness raised by the program, there haven’t been many repeat offenders, Grantges said. Following the presentation, commissioners approved the AIS budget for fiscal year 2017, which begins July 1.
In other business, the board:
• Approved warrants in the amount of $496,641.34.
• Discussed the fairgrounds maintenance plan and funds available to the Agricultural Association for management. The item was referred to staff for further review.
• Conducted a legislative session update with county lobbyist Loren Solberg.
• Listened to a public health division update where commissioners were apprised of the results of the annual spring tobacco compliance checks. The compliance rate (not selling to minors) was about 90 percent, which is consistent with the results of previous years.
• Approved an agreement with the United States Forest Service to improve the condition of about 19 miles of county gravel roads – primarily in the Dora Lake/Wirt area.
• Discussed the progress of spring/summer highway maintenance projects. Several paving projects are just beginning, commissioners were told by the transportation department.