New Invasive Species Laws Will Require Boaters to Take Education Courses

By KBJR News 1

Water samples from the St. Croix River have tested positive for genetic material from silver carp, suggesting the invasive, leaping Asian species may be present in the river as far north as the dam at St. Croix Falls, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

May 4, 2012 Updated May 4, 2012 at 11:45 AM CDT

St. Paul, MN (Northland's NewsCenter) --- Minnesota's program that required boaters to place Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) rules stickers on their boats is being discontinued in the state.

The Minnesota DNR began distributing the rules sticker decals earlier this year and will continue to give them to interested boat owners for informational purposes only.

Now instead of the black and silver stickers, Minnesota boaters will be required to take an online educational course detailing how to keep our waterways clear of invasive species. Once courses are completed, boaters will receive a decal to be placed on their vessel that indicates that they have taken the required AIS courses.

The DNR has begun constructing the online educational courses and should have them up and running by 2015.

Other new AIS laws that will be enacted on July 1st, as a result of the new legislation include:
• Civil penalties for violating the state's AIS laws will double. Fines that currently range from $50 to $250 will increase to $100 to $500, depending on the type of violation.
• Boat lifts, docks, swim rafts and other water-related equipment (except boats and other watercraft) that are removed from any water body may not be placed in another water body for at least 21 days. The drying out period is designed to kill any invasive that might be attached to the equipment that are high risk and difficult to clean.
• Boat clubs, yacht clubs, marinas and other similar organizations are now considered lake-service providers, requiring permits for the clubs and staff working there to take AIS certification training.

The DNR has also been given more authority to stop and inspect water-related equipment before owners take them out or place them into our waterways. The new legislation also allows the DNR to delegate this authority to local governments that have an approved inspection plan.

Posted to the web by Krista Burns