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News Release - Zebra Mussel and Aquatic Nuisance Species Conf.



                                 MN SEA GRANT
                                 NEWS RELEASE

DATE: 2/1/99                                         CONTACT: Doug Jensen
                                                     PHONE: (218) 726-8712

                             IT'S MORE THAN MUSSELS

The ninth international Zebra Mussel and Aquatic Nuisance Species (ANS) 
Conference, April 26-30, 1999, in Duluth, MN, is considered the most 
comprehensive forum for experts to present results concerning impacts of marine 
and freshwater aquatic nuisance species. This year's conference will feature 
panel discussions on ANS policy issues, as well as research reports concerning 
the biology, ecology, control and management, and impacts of ANS.  Outreach and 
educational programs will also be discussed. Vice President Al Gore and 
Secretary of Interior Bruce Babbitt have been invited as keynote speakers to 
discuss a new national Invasive Species Executive Order.

Although zebra mussels are the most widely known ANS, dozens of others require 
attention because they are causing significant damage to marine and freshwater 
resources and to the economies that depend upon them. That's why the conference 
will feature nearly two dozen aquatic invasive species, and special ruffe and 
round goby sessions. It's the first time these special symposia have been part 
of the conference.

"Minnesota Sea Grant is pleased to host the conference back in the Great Lakes,"
said Doug Jensen, conference co-chair. "For the past two years, it's been held 
on the Gulf and West Coasts. This conference is an excellent opportunity to 
share the latest findings, technology, management strategies, and public 
education programs related to ANS prevention and control.

"This year's conference will take a proactive look at some rather controversial 
topics, including the future use of chlorine for ANS control, the pros and cons 
of biological controls, and ballast water control technology and policy," said 
Jensen. "As experience has shown, proactive programming can mean huge cost 
savings by mitigating the impacts and preventing the spread of ANS."

Each year the conference attracts about 400 participants from across the United 
States, Canada and other countries. A sampling of the nearly 125 presentations 
at the conference finds topics ranging from the use of chili pepper-based paints
on boats to deter zebra mussels, efforts to predict what kinds of fish might 
invade the Great Lakes in the future, using zebra mussels as a filter for 
livestock waste, how round gobies affect lake sturgeon populations, and how 
Eurasian ruffe impact yellow perch in experimental enclosures.

For the younger set, there's two new conference features -- a poster competition
and a youth leadership workshop. Youth are invited to submit posters that 
feature an educational message about exotic species, which will be judged at the
beginning of the conference.  Students in grades 5 to 12 can attend a one-day 
workshop to hear what's known about exotic species, learn about how youth are 
involved in management of exotics, and to participate in actual field monitoring
on the St. Louis River. These youth will then develop action strategies for 
their own communities.

The conference will be held at the Duluth Entertainment Convention Center.  The 
early registration fee (deadline February 22, 1999) is $350 ($240 for students) 
and includes all sessions, continental breakfasts, luncheons, coffee breaks, 
receptions, a boat tour of the Duluth-Superior Harbor that highlights ANS 
issues, and a bus tour of the City of Duluth. A Thursday-only fee is available 
for people who only want to come to the special round goby and Eurasian ruffe 
symposia. For more information, you can access the conference Web site at 
www.zebraconf.org, or contact the conference administrator, Elizabeth 
Muckle-Jeffs, at 800-868-8776 or by e-mail: profedge@renc.igs.net.

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