New prevention efforts raise AIS awareness in area visitors
MILACA--Mille Lacs County and the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources continue to work together to combat the spread of Aquatic Invasive Species. This year, new statewide efforts include licensing changes and providing educational materials...
MILACA-Mille Lacs County and the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources continue to work together to combat the spread of Aquatic Invasive Species. This year, new statewide efforts include licensing changes and providing educational materials to area visitors before they arrive at their lake area vacation destinations.
"Everyone must work together to control AIS and keep them from spreading. As several forms of AIS, including Eurasian watermilfoil, spiny waterfleas, and zebra mussels have spread throughout Mille Lacs County waterways and beyond, we're doing everything we can to protect the natural environment," said Dillon Hayes, Environmental Resources Technician with the Mille Lacs County Land Services Office.
The DNR is utilizing two additional methods of education and awareness this year to help stop the spread of AIS. First, an "affirmation section" is now included as part of new watercraft and non-resident fishing license applications. Licensees must complete this section, affirming that they have received, read, and understand the AIS laws, in order to receive their licenses.
The second method involves a customizable AIS prevention letter, available from the DNR, for resorts and campgrounds to send to their guests, explaining to visitors what they must do before traveling to, or within, Minnesota with their boats or other recreational equipment.
Printable educational resources are also available, plus graphics for use on websites, a free informational DVD, and signs for water-access points.
The visitor letter includes the three main AIS prevention steps to remember: clean, drain, and dispose. Anyone using lakes or waterways must thoroughly clean all aquatic species and plant material from their watercraft and anything else that touched the water. In addition to boats, motors, or trailers, this also means cleaning gear, docks and lifts, kayaks, canoes, paddles, stand-up paddleboards, and even water toys. When transporting a boat, all water must be drained and its drain plugs removed. Unused bait must be disposed of in a trash receptacle, not onto the ground or into the water.
After cleaning off all aquatic species, it is recommended that boats and equipment be sprayed with high-pressure hot water, either at a decontamination station or with a personal high-pressure sprayer unit. Decontamination stations are found at various locations around the state. High-pressure hot water (120 degrees) should be sprayed on all areas of the watercraft or equipment for two minutes. If the hot water is at least 140 degrees, then watercraft or equipment can be sprayed for 10 seconds.
With or without the high-pressure hot water spray treatment, it is recommended that a boat, trailer, or other equipment be left to dry for at least five days before being moved to a new body of water. However, it is required by law that docks and lifts must dry for at least 21 days before being moved to a new waterway.
"There are many pieces involved in stopping the spread of Aquatic Invasive Species," Hayes said. "If everyone does their part to follow the regulations and recommendations-and encourages others to do the same-our Minnesota waterways can be enjoyed by future generations for years to come."
For more information, or if residents or resort owners/managers would like resources to share with their guests, visit the county's website .