Lincoln County begins AIS prevention planning

IVANHOE?-?The Lincoln County Board adopted a resolution for Aquatic Invasive Species Prevention and Aid during its regular meeting Tuesday.

Environmental Administrator Robert Olsen presented the resolution to the board that designates the Lincoln County Environmental Office to oversee the program.

During the 2014 session, the state Legislature passed a law that provides funds to Minnesota counties to aid in the prevention of aquatic invasive species. Olsen told the board that he wants the Environmental Office to work with area lake associations and sportsmen clubs to help educate the public about AIS prevention.

In order for counties to receive the funds, counties must pass a resolution and submit a plan by Dec. 31, outlining a program to prevent and limit the spread of aquatic invasive species, Olsen explained.

The amount of money given to each county is based on the number of watercraft trailer launches and watercraft trailer parking spaces at water access landings. The state appropriated $4.5 million for distribution to counties this year and $10 million for the next and subsequent years. Lincoln County will receive a total of $30,743 in 2014 and $68,319 in 2015 and the years following. Funds received for AIS prevention are not required to be spent in the year they are received, but they are required to be managed in an account separate from general revenue funds, Olsen said.

County Engineer Dave Halbersma updated the board on current and upcoming road projects in the county. Halbersma said the annual pavement striping has been completed. He also reported that MnDOT will be putting in rumble strips on Minnesota Highway 19 from the South Dakota border to U.S. Highway 75.

MnDOT is also currently working on designing a new sanitary lift station because of issues with pumps and filtration. Halbersma said that MnDOT would cover 25 percent of the cost and that Lincoln County would pay the remaining 75 percent because its shares the lift station. Halbersma said that MnDOT hopes to complete the project sometime next year.

Halbersma reported that a survey of sidewalk ramps has been completed in order for the county to comply with ADA regulations. There are roughly 100 locations that are out of compliance and only eight pedestrian ramps that meet ADA standards. Halbersma said that the sidewalk ramps were all compliant at one time, but now that the rules have been updated, the county will need to rebuild the ramps. There is no specific deadline for compliance, and the cost to update one ramp is roughly $3,000.