The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is urging boaters to take more responsibility in stopping the spread of aquatic invasive species.
“In the past our boating recreation messages were largely safety oriented, which is still important, but more than ever preventing the spread of aquatic invasive species has become a top DNR priority,” said Col. Jim Konrad, DNR Enforcement Division director. “We are urging boaters to take extra care when launching and loading watercraft to stop the spread of harmful aquatic invasive species in Minnesota’s waterways.”
Minnesota’s water resources are threatened by numerous aquatic invasive species such as zebra mussels, Eurasian watermilfoil and spiny waterfleas. These species could be easily spread within the state if citizens, businesses and visitors don’t take responsible steps to contain them.
“Overland transport of boats, motors, trailers and other watercraft poses the greatest risk for spreading aquatic invasive species and by taking some simple precautions citizens can minimize the risk,” said Konrad.
To help prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species, boaters are required by law to:
- Clean visible aquatic plants, zebra mussels and other prohibited species off of watercraft, trailers and equipment before leaving any water access.
- Drain water from the boats bilge, livewell, motor, ballast tanks and portable bait containers before leaving any water access or shoreline property.
- Keep drain plug out and water draining devices open while transporting watercraft.
Minnesota law prohibits the possession or transport of any aquatic invasive species in Minnesota. Conservation officers and other qualified peace officers may stop, inspect and, if necessary, detain watercraft upon a “reasonable belief” that aquatic invasive species are present.
“We are asking boaters to take personal responsibility and develop a routine before and when leaving a waterway to help reduce the spread of aquatic invasive species,” Konrad said. “Remember, these are your lakes, and once they are infested, they are infested. There’s no ready cure. There’s no turning back. Hold yourself accountable as the first line of defense in the battle against aquatic invasive species.”
For more information on aquatic invasive species and how to prevent their spread, visit www.mndnr.gov/invasives.