This year, owners of lake service provider businesses in Minnesota can choose from 19 aquatic invasive species (AIS) training sessions offered throughout the state, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR).
The businesses are required by law to attend AIS training and acquire a permit before being hired to place or remove water-related equipment from any state waters. The law, passed by the Minnesota Legislature in 2011, aims to help prevent the spread of AIS between waters of the state.
“We’re expecting to work with many more businesses this year,” said April Rust, AIS training coordinator. “We are confident this training is playing an important role in helping stop the spread of AIS in Minnesota waters.”
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More than 800 lake service businesses across the state attended one of the AIS training sessions last year and are now included on the DNR’s list of permitted service providers.
Most of the sessions occur in February and March to allow business owners an opportunity to attend training and obtain a permit before ice-out. A listing all 2013 training opportunities is available online.
After completing the free, three-hour AIS training session, lake service providers must pass an exam, apply for a permit online, and pay a $50 application fee before a permit is issued. The training sessions provide information about AIS issues and information needed to pass the test. They also cover how to integrate AIS prevention strategies into business practices.
The permit is valid for three years. Lake service providers must have the permits while providing services.
Several sessions this summer will include an optional afternoon class for business owners interested in becoming trained in AIS decontamination. These additional courses will be finalized and open for registration this spring.
Lake service providers include canoe outfitters, dock haulers, marina owners, dock/lift installers, boat or yacht clubs, irrigation equipment installers and others who conduct work that involves placing or removing water-related equipment from any state waters.