DNR steps up aquatic invasive species patrol

By KBJR News 1

DNR steps up aquatic invasive species patrol

July 10, 2014 Updated Jul 10, 2014 at 2:20 PM CDT

St. Paul, MN (NNCNOW.com) - The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is ramping up enforcement this weekend after a high-rate of aquatic invasive species has been found on boats on inland lakes.

DNR officers are finding boaters taking unacceptable and illegal risks by transporting aquatic invasive species.

So far this season, watercraft inspectors have found more than 13-hundred boaters at public water accesses with aquatic plants, invasive animals or water in or on their boats and equipment.

Conservation officers have issued 169 citations and 375 warning tickets to boaters for AIS violations at enforcement check stations and public accesses.

Fines range from $100 to $500.

"Far too many people are still not following the law," said Greg Salo, DNR central region enforcement manager. "Some of these laws have been on the books for more than 15 years and yet we're still seeing a 26 percent violation rate at enforcement check stations. That's unacceptable. Violators should know better by now."

During the weekend of July 11-13, the DNR will make an extra push to enforce the law. Anglers and boaters can expect watercraft inspectors and stepped up patrols. DNR conservation officers will be checking boats and equipment to ensure everyone is following Minnesota's AIS laws.

Minnesota currently has 175 inland water bodies infested with zebra mussels.

In Minnesota it is illegal to:
· Transport watercraft without the drain plug removed.
· Arrive at lake access with drain plug in place.
· Transport aquatic plants, zebra mussels, or other prohibited species, whether dead or alive.
· Launch watercraft with prohibited species attached.
· Transport water from Minnesota lakes or rivers.
· Release live bait into the water.