Inspectors at Minnesota lakes are looking out for zebra mussels and other invasive species this fishing opener –- and Mother's Day -- weekend. The Department of Natural Resources is increasing patrols on the water across the state, but they can't be at every lake all the time, so for the 2012 season they're getting some help from local government.
At Lake Minnewashta, in Carver County,an inspector is stationed all weekend. The process is simple: people drive upwith their boats and the inspector comes over and asks them a bunch of questions before physically looking the boat over to make sure you are not transferring any species into a lake, or taking it with you when you leave.
It's mom who is supposed to take it easy today, but boat inspectors across the metro don't have it bad either. "I got my book and I got the sun," said Kevin Granzow, a DNR-trained invasive species specialist, who doesn't spring into action until a boater pulls up. Even then, he's not doing any real hard labor – just observing and enforcing. He'sjust one of many inspectors across the southwest metro inspecting boats for potential problems.
Starting this weekend, and going through mid-September, inspectors in several southwest metro cities and counties will be stationed at public boat launches.
It's a pilot program with a simple goal. "We want to make sure we protect our resources land and water," said Lenny Klevan-Schmitz while enforcing for Carver County, one of the first counties to chip-in for inspectors using grant money from the DNR.
Chanhassen is also on board along with several watershed districts. The program is paid for by local agencies. The estimated cost is coming in around $100,000 dollars for the southwest Twin Cities Metro area.
"Everybody is doingsomething a little different, but at least everyone is trying in the southwestmetro to protect our lakes and resources," Klevan-Schmitz added.
Invasive species likezebra mussels and milfoil can take over lakes and clog up boat launches. It'snot just educating to protect our lakes, it also educating boaters about allthe lakes the right thing to do clean dray and drain," Graznow said.
In case you forget, people like Granzow will be there to remind you: If you don't follow these rules to clean, drain and dry your boat and trailer, you could be looking at a fine up to $1,000.
These DNR-trained inspectors also have the authority to refuse you entry on the lake if they think you may be bringing a harmful species along with your boat. So keep those boats and trailers clean, and fish on!