Cleaning stations at local lakes could help prevent the spread of AIS in MN. This cleaning station is located at Bryant Lake Park in Eden Prairie.
Zebra mussels. Curlyleaf pondweed. Eurasian watermilfoil. Spiny waterflea. Aquatic invasive species continue to wreak havoc on Minnesota lakes and many popular lakes around the state have been invaded by at least one invasive species. Lake Minnetonka, Lake Mille Lacs, Leech Lake, White Bear Lake are all infested with aquatic invasive species. Closer to home, Upper & Lower Prior Lake, Pike Lake and O’Dowd Lake are too.
Given the media coverage on AIS, it might seem like every lake is doomed. However, only 5% of Minnesota’s 11,000 lakes are on the DNR’s list of infested waters1. And that’s where the public comes in.
You can help keep invasive species from spreading to the rest of Minnesota’s lakes by following the CLEAN, DRAIN, DRY motto. Check and clean your boat every time you take your boat out of a lake and double check that your boat is clean before putting it into another lake or river.
Boat inspectors can’t be everywhere and in the rush of getting on or off the lake, many people forget or don’t realize they need to check their boat and drain any water. To address this problem, the Minnesota-based company, CD3, has developed a watercraft cleaning station.
The CD3 cleaning stations are equipped with a suite of tools to help boater quickly clean their boats and trailers with the help of a wet/dry vacuum, air compressor, drain plug wrench, scrub brush and squeegee as well as overhead and foot-level lights. The stations are free for users. Staff can monitor station usage and many maintenance needs remotely.
You can see a station in action here or visit Bryant Lake Park in Eden Prairie to see one for yourself.
Five CD3 stations were installed in Minnesota this year as a pilot project: four at metro area lakes and one in Duluth. The pilots have gone well; to date the stations have been used close to 7,000 times this year.
While a cleaning station would not be a silver bullet to preventing the spread of aquatic invasive species, it would serve as another tool to educate the public and get people into the habit of cleaning their boats.
What can I do?
You can help stop the spread of aquatic invasive species. Take three steps every time you leave a lake or river – whether or not it’s infested:
- Clean all aquatic plants, zebra mussels, and other invasive species from boats, trailers, and water-related equipment.
- Drain water from your boat, ballast tanks, motor, live well and bait container. Remove drain plugs and keep drain plugs out while transporting equipment.
- Dispose of unwanted bait in the trash. To keep live bait, drain the water and refill the bait container with bottled or tap water.
- Source: MN DNR www.dnr.state.mn.us/invasives/ais/infested.html