The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources will channel efforts toward thwarting the spread of aquatic invasive species (AIS) as boating season draws near.
The DNR is reminding boaters and anglers to be aware of the laws that hold consistent with 2012's regulations.
REQUIRED STEPS FOR BOATERS
Before leaving a water access, every boater must do the following:
- Clean off aquatic plants and animals
- Pull the drain plug and leave it out during transport
- Drain water from bait buckets, livewells and boats
- Dispose of unwanted live bait in trash
Last year, the DNR wrote up just shy of 1,000 citations and 1,550 warnings. There were 121 watercraft inspectors who spent 81,000 hours surveying 120,000 watercraft and trailers.
This year will see an additional 30 inspectors stationed at public access points that are known to be infested with zebra mussels with 23 hot water decontamination units to clean equipment.
Three zebra mussel detector dogs will help officers at check points and water accesses throughout the summer.
CITATIONS AND FINES
Transporting aquatic plants: $100 civil penalty or misdemeanor.
Transporting water in boats or other water-related equipment: $100 civil penalty or misdemeanor.
Transporting zebra mussels and other prohibited species of animals: $500 civil penalty or misdemeanor.
WHY ARE ZEBRA MUSSELS A THREAT?
Zebra mussels are small, fingernail-sized animals – they are the only freshwater mussel that can attach to objects. Female zebra mussels can produce 100,000-500,000 eggs per year. Populations were first discovered in the Great Lakes in 1988.
Zebra mussels can:
-Clog lawn watering system intakes
-Attach to motors and clog cooling water areas
-Cause body cuts and scrapes
-Grow and multiply on swim rafts and ladders
-Cut fishing line, resulting in loss of tackle
-Reduce food for larval fish
Other aquatic invasive species, AIS laws, a list of designated infested waters in Minnesota and resources to report AIS sightings can be found at the DNR website: http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/invasives/index_aquatic.html