Minnesota Fights Zebra Mussels

Zebra Mussels
Zebra Mussels on a barge.

DULUTH MN – As the summer travel season approaches its peak, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) reminds visitors to review aquatic invasive species (AIS) laws before traveling to ensure compliance and avoid a citation.

Stepped up education and enforcement of Minnesota‘s AIS laws is intended to protect the state’s more than 10,000 lakes, which play a critical role in attracting anglers and families from across the country for a lakeside vacation.

Nonresident visitors are held to the same standards as Minnesota residents when transporting boats and other water-related equipment, and are also subject to the same citations for violations.

“Minnesota’s lakes, rivers and forests are a big draw for visitors,” said John Edman, director of Explore Minnesota Tourism. “It’s important that everyone who enjoys our woods and waters helps protect these natural treasures.”

Minnesota’s boat plug law is now three years old, but is still one of the most common AIS-related violations.

“It’s important for everyone to take the time to read and understand the laws – they may be different than your home state’s AIS laws,” said Ann Pierce, DNR invasive species unit supervisor. “Not only do the laws help protect Minnesota waters from new infestations, they are a sound practice to reduce the chance of taking home an unwanted aquatic hitchhiker to your own community.”

Before traveling to Minnesota every boater must:

  • Clean all aquatic plants, zebra mussels and other prohibited invasive species from boats and trailers.
  • Drain water from boat, bait buckets and motor; drain livewell and bilge by removing drain plugs.
  • Keep drain plugs out while transporting watercraft.

In Minnesota is it illegal to:

  • Transport watercraft without the drain plug removed.
  • Arrive at lake access with drain plug in place.
  • Transport aquatic plants, zebra mussels, or other prohibited species, whether dead or alive.
  • Launch watercraft with prohibited species attached.
  • Transport water from Minnesota lakes or rivers.
  • Release live bait into the water

More information about Minnesota’s AIS laws is posted on the DNR website at www.mndnr.gov/ais. Resorts, chambers of commerce, convention and visitors bureaus, and lake associations may also provide trip-planning information and links to AIS laws.

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