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Watershed District Hires Invasive Species Director

Craig Dawson will lead the District’s effort to develop a long-term strategy to prevent the spread of zebra mussels and other AIS in the District’s lakes, streams and Minnehaha Creek.

The Minnehaha Creek Watershed District has hired Craig Dawson as director of its newly-formed Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) program. The hire is in response to community support for the Minnehaha Creek Watershed District (MCWD) to broaden its involvement in the prevention and management of invasive species in the District’s waterways.

“We are excited to have Craig Dawson leading our efforts as we establish this program and take the bold step toward eradicating our waters of aquatic invasive species,” said Jim Calkins, MCWD Board of Managers president. “Left unchecked, continued infestation of species like zebra mussels, common carp and Eurasian water milfoil will negatively impact recreational experiences, local businesses and communities.”

Dawson has a 32-year career in city management across the Twin Cities Metropolitan Area and has worked on issues such as landfill expansion, recycling, groundwater contamination and land conservation.

“Craig brings extensive experience leading major efforts and working with communities in the area. He is also familiar with employing a transparent process and engaging partners and stakeholders, which is fundamental to our effort,” said Eric Evenson, district administrator for the MCWD.

Dawson will spearhead the development of a long-term AIS prevention and management plan for the District, with the assistance of AIS Specialist Eric Fieldseth who will help with tactical implementation.

In the meantime, the District is working with other local governmental jurisdictions and citizens groups to protect area lakes from the spread of AIS.  It is providing financial assistance to increase the number of boat inspectors at Lake Minnewashta Regional Park in Carver County and working with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources on initiatives to delegate inspection authority to other units of local government, which are under consideration by the Minnesota legislature. 

The District also is expanding its Save Our Summers education and public awareness campaign, which consists of signs, posters and brochures with information on how to prevent the spread of AIS.  Carver County is the latest jurisdiction to adopt the campaign. 

For more information, visit the MCWD website atwww.minnehahacreek.org.

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