DNR launches new prevention efforts in 2012 to slow spread of aquatic invasive species

January 16, 2012

by Chris Schultz

From the DNR

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) announced its new strategies to fight the spread of aquatic invasive species across the state in 2012.

The efforts take a two-pronged approach: to increase inspections and decontamination of boats at and near water bodies, especially those infested with aquatic invasive species; and to increase awareness that the public must do its part not to spread invasive species.

“The DNR cannot be at every boat ramp this summer, making sure boaters, anglers and other water users are not bringing zebra mussels and other invasive species to public waters,” said DNR Commissioner Tom Landwehr. “Our message is these waters belong to everyone – so everyone needs to be responsible for not moving these invaders.”

More information about responsibilities for boaters and other watercraft operators is available at www.dnr.state.mn.us/invasives/preventspread.html.

In 2012, the DNR will institute new invasive species check stations, hire more watercraft inspectors, deploy more decontamination units and increase its public awareness efforts – all to stop the spread of zebra mussels and other aquatic invaders.

Here is an overview:

• Road check stations

A new state law gives DNR authority to operate check stations that require motorists transporting boats, trailers and other marine equipment to be inspected for aquatic invasive species.

The check stations, which will begin this year, will route motorists pulling boats or other marine equipment into staging areas, where they will be greeted, and a brief conversation will take place prior to their boats and other water-related equipment being inspected.

Among other questions, inspectors will ask where the boat is coming from and how long it has been in the water.

If the boat or water-related equipment fails the inspection, or inspectors believe the boat may be carrying aquatic invasive species, the motorist and boat water related equipment will be directed to an area where high-pressure and hot water will be used to decontaminate the equipment.

Conservation officers may also take enforcement action if the motorist or boat owner has not complied with laws prohibiting the transportation of aquatic invasive species.

• More decontamination units

The DNR will purchase 20 high-pressure, hot-water decontamination units that will be operated at zebra mussel infested waters, high-use destination lakes and at DNR Enforcement check points.

These new units will be in addition to the three units purchased and deployed last fall around Detroit Lakes, Alexandria, Brainerd (including Mille Lacs), and the Twin Cities at high-use accesses on zebra mussel infested waters.

• Additional staff

The DNR will hire 150 new authorized watercraft inspectors who will be deployed around the state.

Three additional invasive species specialists will also be hired to work with lake associations, local units of government and individuals on local prevention and management efforts.

• Fishing tournaments

DNR fisheries biologists will team up with the agency’s Aquatic Invasive Species Program to conduct watercraft inspection and decontamination demonstrations at five to seven large fishing contests being held on zebra-mussel-infested lakes.

The goal is to teach tournament organizers how to lead and implement inspections and decontamination programs at their tournaments and promote prevention efforts among tournaments anglers.

• New decal

The DNR has created a new decal explaining invasive species laws and procedures boaters should use to not spread the invaders.

The decal contains an additional “Check the Drain Plug” decal that can be cut off and placed on the trailer to remind boaters to replace their plug before launching.

Decals will be distributed through boat dealers, DNR offices and state parks and watercraft licensing outlets.

Visitors to boating and sports shows can get them from DNR staff starting in mid-January.

• New educational video

With new funding received from the 2011 Legislature, the DNR awarded a $50,000 grant to a local media firm to produce a documentary on aquatic invasive species.

The video’s purpose is to highlight the threat of invasive species, the laws boaters and water users must follow and what boaters and anglers can do to help prevent their spread.

One-thousand DVDs will be available for distribution to the media, lakeshore organizations and other outlets.

The video will be posted on the DNR website this spring.

• More information on DNR website

The DNR’s invasive species web page has been revamped to make it easier to access information on aquatic invasive species.

Key categories of information include DNR contacts, news and announcements; identification and management of individual species: how the public can help stop the spread of the invaders.

New pages include information for lake service providers and invasive species management.

There is also new link on the DNR homepage under “find it fast.”

Go to www.mndnr.gov/invasives.

Firearms safety training at Waverly

The Waverly Gun Club will be hosting firearms safety training for boys and girls who will be 12-years old and older. Interested adults are also welcome.

The class includes safety, gun handling, conservation, first aid, and orientation.

Successful completion of the course meets requirement for purchasing a game license.

Register Tuesday, Feb. 7 from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Waverly Gun Club. Registrations limited, taken in order received. Need to bring birth certificate to registration.

Classes will be Tuesdays – February 7, 14, 21, 28, March 6, 13, 20, 27, April 3, 10, and Saturday, April 14.

There is a fee and class size is limited to 25.

If you have questions, contact Mike Dongoski at (320) 543-3515.

Howard Lake fishing derby coming up

The 66th annual fishing derby is scheduled for Saturday, Feb. 11 from 1 to 3 p.m. on Howard Lake.

Additional information will be in the Herald Journal in the weeks to come.

Carver County PF banquet Saturday

The Carver County Chapter of Pheasants Forever annual banquet will take place Saturday, Jan. 21.

Everything starts at the Hamburg community hall at 5 p.m. with social hour and fun gaming events, followed by dinner at 7 p.m.

Proceeds are used to support long term, pheasant population initiatives, as well as local youth outdoor educational events.

Evening premier events will include free youth raffles for prizes, various donation raffles, silent and live auctions, and sponsor raffle and recognition.

Ticket information can be obtained by contacting Chip Hentges at (952) 200-3176, or by e-mail at chipseptic@embarqmail.com.

Dutch Lake Ice Fishing contest Jan. 28

The Dutch Lake Ice Fishing Contest will take place Saturday, Jan. 28 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

The contest is sponsored by Dutch and Mallard Pass Lake Association.

Registration will be at the public boat landing, and there is a $10 registration fee.

First prize is $100 and there will also be drawings.

For all of the official rules, go to www.dmpla.org.

Da Shiver Ice Fishing tourney Feb. 4

The sixth annual Da Shiver Ice Fishing Tournament is Saturday, Feb. 4, from noon to 3 p.m. on the west end of Lake Sarah. The event benefits the Crow River Youth Hockey Association.

The early bird cost to fish is $35. After Jan. 20, the fee is $40.

Prizes are awarded to the 10 biggest fish, and door prizes will be given away throughout the day. The event also includes a raffle drawing for an Ice Castle fish house.

For more information contact Doug Lawman at dashiver@yahoo.com, (763) 479-1206 or (612) 991-5159.

CO Weekly Reports
From the DNR

• CO Brian Mies (Annandale) checked anglers during the past week.
CO Mies also worked on checking trappers.

• CO Rick Reller (Buffalo) checked anglers and trappers that were out enjoying the unseasonal weather.
Some problems came with that warm weather and that was still areas of open water on some lakes in Wright County.
One angler drove his ATV in to open water on Pelican Lake and was rescued by fire dept. and sheriff’s dept. personnel.
Two presentations were given at snowmobile safety classes.
A trapping complaint was handled and a protected waters violation investigated resulting in a Cease and Desist Order and citations for working in a public water without permits.
Enforcement action was also taken for angling with extra lines, no ATV registration and possession of marijuana.

• CO Steve Walter (Waconia) attended the Waconia High School Conservation Clubs fishing tournament and fund raiser.
Anglers were checked all week and fish house owners were contacted to remove their fish houses that fell through the ice.
Furs were registered and tagged all week for trappers.

• CO Jackie Glaser (Mound) continued to work on a background investigation for a CO candidate.
She checked ice fishing and ATV activity on Lake Minnetonka.
She also took several calls about nuisance beaver and worked with the county attorney’s office on upcoming court cases.

• CO Wayne Hatlestad (Litchfield) checked angling and spearing activity.
Additional time was spent checking ATV and trapping activity.
Hatlestad also continued work on an employment background checks and attended a division meeting.

• CO Brett Oberg (Hutchinson) reports monitoring ice activity in the area.
Due to the poor ice conditions fishing activity has been low and some lakes have vehicle restrictions on them.
However, CO Oberg took a report of individuals fishing open water on Lake Ripley in a boat.
Small game enforcement as well as state trail enforcement was also worked.