Monday, August 3, 2015

‘Think Zero’ aims for no violations of aquatic invasive species laws

Boaters and anglers are encouraged to "Think Zero" this weekend: Zero spread of aquatic invasive species (AIS) and zero violations. The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources holds Think Zero weekend annually to raise awareness of efforts to stop the spread of aquatic invasive species in the state.

The number of people violating AIS laws in Minnesota is significantly decreasing each year. The preliminary violation rate for 2015 is 11.6 percent, compared to 17 percent in 2014 and 23 percent in 2013. DNR Enforcement Operations Manager Todd Kanieski said a wide range of factors are contributing to the decline.

"More people than ever before know and follow Minnesota's laws to prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species," Kanieski said. "In addition to expanded efforts by conservation officers and the use of AIS-sniffing K9s, we have a record number of watercraft inspectors across the state in 2015."

In addition to the 100 DNR watercraft inspectors, more than 660 inspectors have been hired by local governments and trained by the DNR. These inspectors are managed locally and have the same authority as DNR inspectors. 

Boaters and anglers are reminded of their legal requirements:

  • Clean aquatic plants and animals from watercraft.
  • Drain all water by removing drain plugs, and keep drain plugs out while transporting watercraft.
  • Dispose of unwanted bait in the trash.

The DNR also recommends that boaters:

  • Spray boat with high-pressure water;
  • Rinse boat with hot water (120 degrees for two minutes, or 140 degrees for 10 seconds); or
  • Dry boat and equipment for at least five days.

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