The Crow Wing County aquatic invasive species (AIS) decontamination station in Crosslake opens for the season beginning Friday, May 22, of Memorial Day weekend to help stop the spread of AIS.
The station is located at the Crosslake Joint Highway Maintenance Facility off Highway 3 at 13870 Whipple Drive. After Memorial Day weekend, it will be open and fully staffed from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Thursday through Sunday through the end of September.
Watercraft decontamination consists of a very hot water rinse used to kill zebra mussels and, if needed, a high-pressure spray to remove material from boats, motors, trailers and personal gear. No soaps, bleaches or chemicals are used during the process.
“The entire process takes a short time and is a valuable tool for limiting the spread of AIS in our lakes and rivers,” Crow Wing County Environmental Services Supervisor Jake Frie stated in a news release.
The station is operated by Minnesota Department of Natural Resources-trained and -certified inspectors who ensure the process effectively and safely removes or kills AIS.
“Working in partnership with the City of Crosslake, this decontamination station will provide a useful service to boaters,” Frie said.
Decontaminations are available to boaters free of charge, with priority given to boaters who have been referred for decontamination by watercraft inspectors or law enforcement present on area landings.
Boaters will be referred for decontamination when AIS or other unknowns are discovered, the watercraft has been in the water for more than 24 hours, the watercraft is being transported to a new water body within 24 hours, or if undrainable or unverifiable water is present.
During the COVID-19 pandemic and in keeping with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance, social distancing strategies will be implemented during the decontamination process to limit person-to-person contact, including inspectors wearing masks and maintaining a minimum 6 feet of distance between boat users.
Information about Crow Wing County AIS prevention efforts, including interactive maps to search for the status of area lakes, can be found on the web at www.crowwing.us/AIS.