Invasive Species Prevention Hits High Gear This Weekend

If you’re planning to fish or tow a boat this weekend in Minnesota, there’s a good chance you’ll be checked by an inspector or conservation officer to make sure you’re complying with the state’s aquatic invasive species laws.

The Department of Natural Resources issued a news release this morning saying it is ramping up boat inspections, enforcement and educational campaigns to prevent the spread of zebra mussels and other unwanted critters.

Not just this weekend, but for the entire summer.

“This weekend is the start of the summer water-recreation season in Minnesota, and we need everyone’s cooperation to protect our waters,” DNR Commissioner Tom Landwehr said in a statement. “While the DNR is devoting more resources than ever to this problem, it takes only one careless act to infest your favorite lake or river forever.”

This weekend, 100 watercraft inspectors will be stationed around the state, checking boats for AIS and advising water users of laws and practices that will keep invasive species from spreading. The DNR will also deploy 14 decontamination units at various water bodies around the state. The agency will concentrate inspectors and decontamination efforts at high-use water bodies that are currently infested with AIS.

One of the most common violations is failure to remove the drain plug from the boat and live well during transport. The fine is $50, and it will increase to $100 on July 1, as will fines for other invasive species violations.

More a full rundown on Minnesota’s invasive species laws, along with a new 25-minute video called “Aquatic Invasive Species, Minnesota Waters at Risk,” click here: