MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is sharply cutting the money it gives cities and lake groups to tackle aquatic invasive species such as Eurasian watermilfoil.

Funding is dropping from $675,000 this year to $200,000 next year for budget reasons.

Cities and lake associations that have relied on the grants to control the invasive plant, which crowds out native plants and ruins swimming and boating, say it's a major loss.

The DNR awarded 182 grants this year to help combat invasive weeds on more than 100 lakes. Next year, those groups will compete for a smaller pot.

Ann Pierce of the DNR's Ecological and Water Resources Division says they understand this is a hardship, but the agency has less money available than it had last year.