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Invasive species in Minnesota

Zebra mussels continue their spread in Minnesota
Zebra mussels continue their spread in Minnesota
University of Minnesota

The spread of invasive species are on the rise in Minnesota, and those that have taken hold are creating real problems on the lakes and rivers. Invasive species are defined as those, which are non-native to the ecosystems they currently inhabit. Currently, in Minnesota we have a number of invasive species with Eurasian milfoil, zebra mussels, and Asian carp getting the lion’s share of the headlines.

In an effort to stem the tide and slow the spread of invasive species all over the state the Minnesota DNR has implemented a training program for lake service providers. A service provider is defined as: anyone who removes or installs water-related equipment from the waters of the state for hire. I attended one of those training sessions on Friday, April 20th.

Here are the take-away lessons from that training course:

Zebra mussels can live anywhere they can stay wet. They love the dark spaces of lifts, trailers, and live wells. Make sure your equipment is clean and dry (three to five days) before entering another body of water.

• Zebra mussels hate hot water; kill them with a 140-degree wash down and power wash and/or scrape their shells from your equipment.

• Eurasian milfoil can start a new colony in a body of water with just a small piece of a plant. Clean all aquatic plants from your equipment before leaving the landing and trailering down the road.

• If you have a question about whether to clean or not clean; CLEAN IT.

• Do not move your boat down the road with the transom or live well plugs in. Except in rare cases you will be fined for having those plugs in position.

The session included some great information, and led to some lively discussion at the end of the session. Bottom line: everyone is responsible for protecting the lakes and rivers of Minnesota. Let’s be extremely diligent about cleaning boats, lifts, and docks. And under no circumstances should we knowingly transport invasive species within the state of Minnesota.

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