The county just started their Inspection program in 2018. They signed a delegation agreement with the DNR allowing them to conduct their own inspections. Inspecting boats achieves two priorities for the county. The first is, Education, being able to teach people what the laws are and how to be in compliance of those laws. The second, Prevention, checking people’s watercraft’s for AIS will help slow the introduction to the lakes.
The AIS board thinks this is a high priority. Being able to keep our lakes free of any AIS for as long as possible. Some say that it is inevitable that invasives will eventually be in our lakes so why waste the time and money to try and stop them? Less than 7% (as of July 2018) of Minnesota’s lakes are actually infected with AIS. Less than 3% are infested with Zebra mussels. There has been no new invaders into Minnesota since 2006 when the ballast water laws started to be enacted. The goal is keep that percent as low as possible for as long as possible. Just because 7% of the lakes are infected doesn’t mean we should just let the other 93% to be taken over. The AIS board believes the longer we can preserve our lakes the better. The hope is to stave off the intruders long enough to find a cure or a way to stop them. So, it may be inevitable that they are coming but the board believes it is also inevitable that we will find a way to stop them or be able to kill them. Inspecting boats, trailers, and other watercrafts is one of the best ways to slow the spread.
What does the inspector do?
The Inspector goes to man of the different accesses in the county ad waits for boats to go into and come out of the lake. When entering the lake, the inspector will ask a few questions like “What was the last lake you were on?” and “How long was the boat in the water?”. The inspector will then check over the boat for to make sure no invasives are attached to the boat or trailer and that the drain plug was pulled. The inspector will also inspect the live wells to make sure there is no water in them and check various or things inside the boat. If all is good they are allowed to launch.
When exiting the lake the inspector is again checking to make sure no AIS or native plants or animals are attached to the boat or trailer. The inspector will have the watercraft user empty all livewells, ballast tanks, and pull the drain plug. The inspector will also ask “Do you have any live bait?”. If they do have live bait they will have to dispose of the water and put tap water in. If they no longer want the bait they will have to properly dispose of it by throwing it into the trash. Once they are in compliance of MN AIS laws then they are free to go.
The AIS board is very interested in purchasing a decontamination station and also a full-time summer inspector. The decontamination station is a heated pressure washer. The heated water will kill any invasives on the watercraft. Below is a video of what it would look like and do.
How to self-inspect your watercraft
To truly slow or stop the spread of invasives the public will have to hold themselves accountable and check their own boats. There will not always be an inspector to check your boat so you need to know how to clean, drain, and dry your boat yourself.
- Check all the places in the picture below for any animals or plants
- Pull your drain plug
- Drain your livewells make sure they are dry/empty when entering a lake.
- Check inside the boat on fishing equipment, anchors, and anything that was in contact with the water for plants, animals, and mud.
- Tilt motor all the way down to drain water out of it.
- If you have minnows or leeches drain all the water and refill with tap water. Throw bait in the trash if no longer wanted