DNR begins boat inspections to stop spread of invasive species - My29 WFTC Minneapolis-St. Paul

DNR begins boat inspections to stop spread of invasive species

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Starting Memorial Day weekend, 100 inspectors with the Department of Natural Resources will be stationed around the state to make sure boats and other watercraft are not transporting invasive species to other waterways.

The inspectors will be working to ensure that boaters are complying with state laws by cleaning all plants, animals and mud off their watercraft -- including draining all water and leaving drain plugs out.

The DNR is rolling out its decontamination units to high-traffic lakes, including at Lake Minnetonka.

Though the boat traffic on the water was only slightly better than the traffic on the roads leading to the lake, no one was complaining about the increased inspections -- even from one boater who didn't pull his drain plug last time and got a $50 ticket.

"It's time to be very proactive if we want this lake to be kept nice," he said. "We all have to do our part."

Fines for violations will double in some cases on July 1.

Inspectors will be checking boats on the way in and out of the water to keep the motor-clogging, fish-suffocating invasive species -- especially zebra mussels and milfoil.

Not all boats get the 120-degree bath. Only the ones with suspicious-looking weeds or possible zebra mussels on them will be selected for decontamination. The hot, high-pressure rinse kills any mussels and dislodges stubborn weeds.

The water from the chemical-free boat baths is collected, filtered and reused on boats. The process usually only takes a few minutes.

Now that the lakes are getting crowded once more, water patrol is also out in full force to ensure boaters stay safe on the water. Last year, 18 people drowned in Hennepin County, including five children.

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