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Crow Wing County ramps up AIS program to coincide with fishing opener

The Land Services Department's aquatic invasive species program coincides with Gov. Tim Walz's proclamation of May 15 to be "Clean Drain Dry Day."

Gov. Tim Walz didn't catch a walleye during the 2019 fishing opener, but he did manage to get on the board with a small perch. Photo courtesy of Explore Minnesota

The Crow Wing County Land Services Department’s 2021 aquatic invasive species program is ramping up to coincide with this year’s fishing opener May 15.

To celebrate Minnesota’s fishing opener, Gov. Tim Walz declared May 15 to be “Clean Drain Dry Day.” Watercraft inspectors will be active on boat landings within the county beginning May 14 with more than 17,000 inspection hours scheduled for the 2021 season.

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“Crow Wing County is home to some of Minnesota’s best fishing and boating waters. By presenting the Clean Drain Dry proclamation … we are all reminded to take action and become part of the solution for protecting our waters,” stated County Business Manager Jessica Shea in a news release.

The 2021 aquatic invasive species plan focuses on the top priorities identified by area lake associations, citizens, and business interests including boat landing inspections, decontamination units, education, awareness and innovative special projects.

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Invasive species are a direct serious threat to local economies and recreationists accessing public waters. Preventing and managing the spread of harmful invasive species is up to everyone, according to county officials.


“With our 2021 AIS plan, Crow Wing County is leading Minnesota counties in the effort to limit and prevent the spread (of) AIS in our waters,” Shea stated.

RELATED: Crow Wing County seeks seasonal watercraft inspectors Watercraft inspections were identified by lake associations and stakeholders as a top priority for aquatic invasive species funding. Aquatic invasive species funding is allocated by the state legislature as part of the program aid given to Minnesota counties.
Draining all water, removing plants, mud and other debris, and inspecting trailers and watercraft moving from lake to lake can minimize the risk of spreading invasive species. Additionally, 21 days of drying time is needed before relocating docks, lifts or swim rafts into a different water body.

For more information, visit crowwing.us/ais . The webpage includes interactive maps showing data on water quality, invasive species and county efforts to protect water resources.

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