Minnesota DNR urges boaters to ‘Pull the Plug' on the spread of aquatic invasive species

With 2011 open water fishing season upon us, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is urging boaters and anglers to take action to prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species that harm water recreation, such as boating and fishing.

"Our lakes and rivers are too important to take for granted," said Tom Landwehr, DNR commissioner. "Boaters and anglers need to be accountable and personally responsible to prevent the further spread of aquatic invasives."

State law requires boaters to do the following:

· remove visible aquatic plants and zebra mussels from boats and trailers before leaving a water access

· drain water from boat, livewell, bilge and impeller by removing drain plugs, and open water-draining devices before leaving a water access

· drain portable bait containers when leaving any zebra mussel or spiny waterflea infested waters of the state (anglers can keep unused bait when leaving waters of the state if they replace the water with tap or spring).

Some aquatic invasive species are small and difficult to see at the access. To remove or kill them before transporting a watercraft to other waters, the DNR recommends either:

· spraying boat and trailer with a high pressure sprayer using hot water (140°), such as hot water sprayers available at a car wash

· drying boat and equipment for at least five days.

These laws and recommendations are intended to help prevent the spread of invasive species such as zebra mussels, Eurasian watermilfoil, and spiny waterfleas. These species could be easily spread within the state if citizens, businesses and visitors don't take the necessary steps to contain them.

Zebra mussels pose serious ecological and economic threats to Minnesota's lakes and streams. Heavy infestations can kill native mussels, impact fish populations and interfere with recreation. Infestations can increase costs for industry, including power and water supply facilities.

For more information about aquatic invasive species, click here.

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