ST. CLOUD -- As many as 350 people with a stake in battling invasive aquatic species will meet in St. Cloud for a two day summit starting Tuesday.

The first-ever Aquatic Invaders Summit is bringing experts from across the country to share new research, best practices and ways to collaborate in fighting invasive species.

Minnesota is the first state in the union to set aside public dollars to battle the spread of aquatic invasive species like zebra mussels and Eurasian water milfoil. The summit is part of $10,000,000 set aside by the legislature to study new innovations and techniques while fostering collaboration among counties, state agencies and conservation groups.

According to the University of Minnesota Duluth, "Minnesota has 90,000 miles of shoreline, more than California, Florida and Hawaii combined." Experts warn the aggressive invasive species are threatening the state's $12.5-billion tourism industry and the 245,000 jobs it creates.

The summit is being held at the River's Edge Convention Center in St. Cloud and will give local communities control of developing action plans to prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species into the future.

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