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Crow Wing County opens AIS decontamination stations

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.

Zebra mussels encrust clamshells in Cass Lake.
Zebra mussels encrust clamshells in Cass Lake.
Renee Richardson / Brainerd Dispatch
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BRAINERD — The Crow Wing County aquatic invasive species decontamination stations will open for the season Friday, May 27, to help stop the spread of AIS.

A mobile decontamination unit will be located at different public accesses throughout the county. It will be open and fully staffed from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday through Sunday. Call 218-824-1055 or text “CWCDECON” to 1-833-258-7509 to find a location.

The county also has a permanent decontamination unit located at the Crosslake Joint Highway Maintenance Facility at 13870 Whipple Drive. This location is fully staffed from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday through Sunday.

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.

Under Minnesota Department of Natural Resources guidelines, boaters will be referred for decontamination when AIS or other unknown items or materials 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.

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“The decontamination stations provide a useful service to boaters,” Jessica Shea, Crow Wing County business manager, stated in a news release.

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 station is operated by DNR-trained and certified inspectors who ensure the process effectively and safely removes or kills AIS.

“The entire process takes a short time and is a valuable tool for limiting the spread of AIS in our lakes and rivers,” Shea stated.

More information about the county’s AIS prevention efforts can be found at www.crowwing.us/AIS .

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