Wisconsin, Minnesota to fight invasive species along St. Croix River

Inspectors will staff six decontamination boats on the St. Croix River on July 14 and July 15 to search for and get rid of invasive species, including zebra mussels. (Photo by Brian Peterson)

MINNEAPOLIS — Decontamination units in Minnesota and Wisconsin will launch a multi-day effort to stop numerous invasive species that threaten a river separating the two states.

Inspectors will staff six decontamination boats on the St. Croix River on July 14 and July 15 to search for and get rid of invasive species, including zebra mussels, Eurasian watermilfoil, curly leaf pondweed, bighead carp, rusty crayfish and Asian clams, The Star Tribune reported.

The species threaten the river’s health, the St. Croix River Association said.

“The St. Croix is one of the cleanest tributaries to the Mississippi River,” the association said in a statement. “It is a high-value fishery. … The introduction of aggressive invasive species into this complex system threatens the ecological integrity of the rivers as well as the unique cultural resources and our outdoor heritage.”

The association is contributing four interns to the effort.

The boats have high-pressure and high-temperature wash units. They’ll be used to wash watercraft at public access points along the river. Besides the cleaning for their boats, boaters will be taught how to properly clean, drain and dry their boats to keep invasive species from spreading.

The Minnesota DNR, Chisago County and the Wisconsin DNR will staff the various washing units along the river.

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