Minnesota Waters At Risk – Aquatic Invasive Species


[INSTRUMENTAL MUSIC] THE STATE OF MINNESOTA
IS BLESSED WITH AN IMMENSE WEALTH
OF NATURAL WONDERS, THOUSANDS OF PRISTINE LAKES,
RIVERS AND STREAMS, ABUNDANT FORESTS
AND GRASSLANDS, AND A WIDE ARRAY OF WILDLIFE,
RANGING FROM COMMONLY SEEN DEER TO TINY RIVER-DWELLING
PLANKTON THAT ARE SELDOM VIEWED BY
CASUAL OBSERVERS. MINNESOTA ALSO HAS
A RICH OUTDOOR HERITAGE, WITH VIRTUALLY UNLIMITED
ACCESS TO BOATING, SWIMMING AND FISHING. BUT THAT HERITAGE
IS NOW THREATENED BY AQUATIC INVASIVE SPECIES
THAT JEOPARDIZE RECREATION AND THE DELICATE
ECOLOGICAL ORDER. IT’S TIME FOR US TO TAKE
THAT THREAT SERIOUSLY. MORE THAN TWO-DOZEN AQUATIC
INVASIVE SPECIES HAVE INVADED MINNESOTA’S WATERS. THEY ARE IN MORE THAN
400 LAKES AND RIVERS OUT OF THE STATE’S 11,000 LAKES
AND 6,000 RIVERS AND STREAMS. SOME OF THESE ARE
HEAVILY USED WATERS, SUCH AS LAKE MILLE LACS,
LAKE MINNETONKA, GULL LAKE, AND STRETCHES OF THE ST. LOUIS
AND MISSISSIPPI RIVERS. OUR CHALLENGE IS TO KEEP
THESE INVADING SPECIES FROM SPREADING FURTHER
AND TO PREVENT NEW ONES FROM GETTING A FOOTHOLD
IN OUR STATE. AQUATIC INVASIVE SPECIES
ARE THE BIGGEST THREAT TODAY FACING OUR LAKES AND RIVERS AND OUR ABILITY TO USE
AND ENJOY THEM. WE REALLY NEED EVERYBODY,
YOU INCLUDED, TO STEP UP, TAKE RESPONSIBILITY
FOR OUR ACTIONS SO THAT WE CAN ENJOY
THESE RESOURCES TODAY AND FUTURE GENERATIONS
CAN AS WELL. WHAT DO WE MEAN BY
AQUATIC INVASIVE SPECIES? THEY’RE PLANTS AND ANIMALS
THAT LIVE IN THE WATER AND ARE NOT NATIVE
TO MINNESOTA. WHEN THESE SPECIES
ARE ACCIDENTALLY OR INTENTIONALLY TRANSPLANTED
INTO OUR WATERS, THEY CAN UPSET
THE ECOLOGICAL BALANCE. NO MATTER HOW THEY GET HERE, THE ENVIRONMENTAL CONSEQUENCES
CAN BE SEVERE. FOR EXAMPLE, CREATURES LIKE
ZEBRA AND QUAGGA MUSSELS, ROUND GOBIES, AND SPINY
WATER FLEAS WERE TRANSPORTED IN THE LATE 1980S FROM THE BLACK AND CASPIAN
SEAS OF EUROPE AND ASIA. THEY CAME IN THE BALLAST TANKS
OF OCEAN-GOING SHIPS AND WERE UNWITTINGLY DISCHARGED
FROM BALLAST WATER INTO THE GREAT LAKES. FROM THERE, THEY SPREAD
TO INLAND WATERS. NEW SPECIES OF CARP,
BROUGHT HERE FROM ASIA, ARE CREATING HEADACHES BOTH ABOVE AND BELOW
THE WATER’S SURFACE. AND EURASIAN WATERMILFOIL
GROWS INTO MATS ON THE WATER’S SURFACE THAT INTERFERE WITH
SWIMMING AND BOATING AND DIMINISH THE VISUAL
APPEAL OF OUR LAKES. THESE SEEMINGLY UNRELATED
SPECIES SHARE A COMMON AND DISTURBING TRAIT: IN OUR ECOSYSTEM, THEY LACK
DISEASE AND PREDATOR CONTROLS, SO THESE NON-NATIVE
SPECIES REPRODUCE AND SPREAD AT AN AMAZING PACE. THE CONSEQUENCE IS THAT THEY
COMPETE WITH NATIVE SPECIES FOR FOOD AND HABITAT. IN TURN, THIS CAN DRAMATICALLY
AFFECT COMMERCIAL, TOURISM, AND RECREATIONAL USES OF MINNESOTA’S WELL-KNOWN
LAKES AND RIVERS. AQUATIC INVASIVE SPECIES LIKE QUAGGA MUSSELS
AND ZEBRA MUSSELS AND ASIAN CARP
AND EURASIAN MILFOIL, THESE THINGS ARE INCOMPATIBLE WITH OUR WAY OF LIFE
IN MINNESOTA. RECREATION IN MINNESOTA IS A FOUR BILLION DOLLAR
A YEAR INDUSTRY, SECOND ONLY TO AGRICULTURE. FISHING ALONE GENERATES OVER
TWO BILLION DOLLARS A YEAR. SO THERE’S A REAL ECONOMIC
INCENTIVE TO STOPPING THE SPREAD OF AQUATIC INVASIVE
SPECIES IN MINNESOTA. BUT MORE THAN THAT EVEN,
OUR WAY OF LIFE AND WHO WE ARE AS MINNESOTANS
WOULD BE LOST IF THESE THINGS GET INTO
OUR LAKES AND STREAMS. FOREMOST AMONG THE
INVERTEBRATE INVADERS ARE ZEBRA MUSSELS,
SMALL STRIPED MOLLUSKS ABOUT THE SIZE
OF YOUR THUMBNAIL THAT MULTIPLY AT
INCREDIBLE RATES. ZEBRA MUSSELS ENCRUST
ROCKS, DOCKS, BOATS, AND WATER-SUPPLY INTAKES
WITH A SHARP COATING OF SHELLS. MEANWHILE, THEIR LARGER
BUT LESSER-KNOWN RELATIVES, QUAGGA MUSSELS,
COLONIZE DEEPER WATER. ZEBRA MUSSELS ARE FOUND IN
PORTIONS OF THE MISSISSIPPI AND ST. CROIX RIVERS AND IN
SELECT POPULAR FISHING LAKES LIKE MILLE LACS, GULL,
MINNETONKA, AND OTHER WATERS. ZEBRA MUSSELS AND QUAGGA
MUSSELS BOTH PRESENT A REALLY SERIOUS THREAT TO
OUR INLAND LAKES IN MINNESOTA. THEY FEED ON PLANKTON, THE MICROSCOPIC PLANTS
THAT ARE IN OUR LAKES, AND THIS IS THE BASE
OF THE FOOD CHAIN. AND IF THE ZEBRA OR
QUAGGA MUSSELS BUILD UP HIGH ENOUGH DENSITIES
IN THE LAKE, THEY CAN STRAIN OUT SO MUCH
OF THIS PLANKTON POPULATION, THE BASE OF THE FOOD CHAIN, THAT THERE MAY NOT BE
THE FOOD AVAILABLE FOR OTHER ANIMALS IN THE LAKE,
SUCH AS THE GAME FISH. AND THIS COULD HAVE SERIOUS
LONG-TERM IMPACTS ON OUR LAKES HERE IN MINNESOTA. WHEN INVASIVE SPECIES
FIRST ARRIVE, THEIR POPULATION MAY RAPIDLY
EXPAND IN THE NEW ENVIRONMENT, AND THEN EVENTUALLY SETTLE
INTO A NEW ECOLOGICAL BALANCE WHICH CAN BE DRASTICALLY
CHANGED. WITH ZEBRA AND ESPECIALLY
QUAGGA MUSSELS, THE EXTENT OF THE DAMAGE
IS DIFFICULT TO PREDICT. BECAUSE QUAGGA MUSSELS INFEST DEEPER WATERS THAN
ZEBRA MUSSELS, TOGETHER THEY HAVE
THE POTENTIAL TO WREAK HAVOC THROUGHOUT THE ECOLOGICAL
SYSTEM. WE FOCUS A LOT OF OUR
WORK ON SOME OF THE, THE BUSIEST RECREATIONAL
AND FISHERY LAKES IN THE AREA. WE’VE SEEN FIRSTHAND HOW RAPIDLY
THESE ZEBRA MUSSELS SPREAD. ON GULL IN 2010, WE’VE WITNESSED ZERO
ZEBRA MUSSELS ON THE EQUIPMENT THAT
OUR COMPANY REMOVED. IN THE FALL OF 2011,
ONE YEAR LATER, NEARLY EVERY SINGLE JOB WAS
COVERED IN ZEBRA MUSSELS. SO, HOW ARE ZEBRA
AND QUAGGA MUSSELS SPREAD TO NEW LOCATIONS? THESE AND OTHER AQUATIC
INVASIVE SPECIES HITCHHIKE IN SEVERAL WAYS BY ATTACHING TO THINGS THAT
HAVE BEEN IN THE WATER, BY CLINGING TO AQUATIC PLANTS, AND BY BEING CARRIED
WITH THE WATER ITSELF. PEOPLE CAN UNINTENTIONALLY
MOVE THESE INVADERS ON TRAILERED BOATS,
PERSONAL WATERCRAFT, DUCK BOATS, KAYAKS, AND CANOES. THEY CAN BE CARRIED INSIDE
BAIT BUCKETS, LIVE WELLS, BAIT WELLS, AND THE BALLAST
TANKS OF WAKEBOARD BOATS. THEY CAN ALSO BE MOVED
ALONG WITH BOAT TRAILERS, CARPETED TRAILER BUNKS,
ANCHOR AND SKI ROPES, DOCKS, BOATLIFTS, SCUBA GEAR,
AND EVEN THE SOLES OF WADERS. ALL IT TAKES IS ONE CARELESS
PERSON TO TRANSPORT THE PROBLEM AND CHANGE ANOTHER LAKE
OR RIVER FOREVER. WITHIN A FEW YEARS, AN ENTIRE
WATERSHED CAN BE INFESTED. SHARP SHELLS ARE ATTACHED TO
ROCKS AND WASH UP ON BEACHES, DISCOURAGING SWIMMING. A LOSS OF TOURISM DOLLARS
CAN FOLLOW. ZEBRA MUSSELS FILTER
GREEN ALGAE FROM THE WATER, LEAVING LESS DESIRABLE
BLUE-GREEN ALGAE BEHIND, AND THE NATURAL TOXINS IN MATS OF BLUE-GREEN ALGAE
WASHING ASHORE CAN CREATE HEALTH HAZARDS FOR
CHILDREN AND FAMILY PETS. ZEBRA MUSSELS AND QUAGGA
MUSSELS CAN HAVE A LOT OF DIFFERENT IMPACTS
IN THE LAKES ON THE ECOLOGY AND RECREATIONAL USE, AND THESE
IMPACTS MAY BE LONG-TERM AND UNABLE TO BE CHANGED
ONCE THESE POPULATIONS BECOME ESTABLISHED IN A LAKE. MINNESOTA HAS
ALSO EXPERIENCED THE UNWELCOME ARRIVAL
OF FAUCET SNAILS AND NEW ZEALAND MUD SNAILS
IN A LIMITED NUMBER OF WATERS. THESE SNAILS CAN ATTACH TO EQUIPMENT USED
IN THE WATER, TOO. THEY COMPETE
WITH NATIVE SNAILS, AND FAUCET SNAILS CAN HOST
PARASITES THAT KILL WATERFOWL. ANOTHER INVADING INVERTEBRATE
IS THE SPINY WATER FLEA, A LARGE ZOOPLANKTON WHICH
ANGLERS SOMETIMES FIND CLINGING TO THEIR LINES
WHEN FISHING RAINY LAKE OR LAKE OF THE WOODS. SPINY WATER FLEAS GROW
UP TO 3/8 INCH IN LENGTH, AND BECAUSE OF THEIR
SHARP SPINES, MOST SMALL FISH AVOID
EATING THEM. SPINY WATER FLEAS COMPETE
WITH NATIVE ZOOPLANKTON AND EAT SMALLER ZOOPLANKTON,
REDUCING THE AMOUNT OF FOOD AVAILABLE FOR
NEWLY-HATCHED FISH. WHEN THE DOWNRIGGERS
AND ANCHOR LINES THAT THIS SPECIES
CLINGS TO ARE MOVED, SO IS THIS INVADER. THE RUSTY CRAYFISH IS ANOTHER
INVERTEBRATE INVADER THAT IS NATIVE TO SOUTHEASTERN
UNITED STATES. IT WAS LIKELY BROUGHT
TO MINNESOTA WATERS, SUCH AS LEECH LAKE, BY ANGLERS
WHO CARRIED THEM AS LIVE BAIT. RUSTY CRAYFISH ARE A LARGER, MORE FEROCIOUS SPECIES
THAT OUT-COMPETES NATIVE CRAYFISH POPULATIONS
FOR FOOD AND TERRITORY. IT ALSO HAS THE NASTY
HABIT OF SHREDDING THE ROOTED AQUATIC
PLANTS THAT ARE IMPORTANT HABITAT FOR FISH
AND OTHER WATER CREATURES. LESS WIDESPREAD, BUT GRABBING LOTS OF HEADLINES
ARE CARP FROM ASIA, SPECIFICALLY THE BIGHEAD
AND SILVER CARP SPECIES, WHICH POSE A SIGNIFICANT THREAT
TO MINNESOTA WATERS. INDIVIDUAL BIGHEAD CARP
AND DNA FROM SILVER CARP HAVE BEEN FOUND IN
THE ST. CROIX RIVER AND IN THE TWIN CITIES PORTION
OF THE MISSISSIPPI RIVER, INDICATING SOME FISH ARE HERE. THE PRIMARY THREAT
THAT ASIAN CARP, BOTH BIGHEAD AND SILVER CARP, POSE IS THE FACT THAT THEY CAN
SHORT-CIRCUIT THE FOOD CHAIN. THEY’RE VERY EFFICIENT
FILTER FEEDERS. THEY TAKE THE PHYTOPLANKTON
AND THE ZOOPLANKTON THAT ALL OF OUR NATIVE FISHES
FROM SHINERS TO BLUEGILLS TO WALLEYES TO PADDLEFISH NEED
FOR THEIR BASIC SURVIVAL. AND THEY’RE JUST EXTREMELY
GOOD AT THIS, AND THAT WAY THEY CAN
REALLY OUT-COMPETE OUR NATIVE SPECIES. ORIGINALLY STOCKED IN
AQUACULTURE PONDS IN THE SOUTH TO CONTROL ALGAE, FLOODS ALLOWED THEM TO ESCAPE INTO THE MISSISSIPPI RIVER
DRAINAGE AND MOVE UPSTREAM. THEY ARE PROLIFIC BREEDERS, CAPABLE OF VIRTUALLY TAKING OVER
ENTIRE STRETCHES OF RIVER, ALTERING THE LOCAL FISH
COMMUNITY DRAMATICALLY. WHILE BIGHEAD CARP EAT
MORE AND GROW LARGER, IT’S THE HIGH-FLYING
SILVER CARP THAT OFFER VIVID EVIDENCE OF THE INVASION. APPROACHING BOATS CAN SCARE
ENTIRE SCHOOLS OF SILVER CARP INTO LEAPING OUT OF THE WATER, CAUSING SERIOUS INJURIES
WHEN THEY HIT BOATERS AND PERSONAL WATERCRAFT USERS. SOME BOATERS ARE FORCED TO
WEAR PROTECTIVE HELMETS, HIDE BEHIND WINDSHIELDS, OR AVOID BOATING
ON INFESTED RIVERS. ROUND GOBIES ARE ANOTHER
UNWELCOME GUEST IN AMERICA COURTESY OF EUROPEAN
BALLAST WATER DISCHARGED INTO THE GREAT LAKES. THEY HAVE NO SWIM BLADDER, AND LIVE THEIR ENTIRE
LIFE CYCLES WITHIN A FEW INCHES
OF THE BOTTOM. IN SOME AREAS OF
THE GREAT LAKES, THEY HAVE BECOME
THE PREFERRED FORAGE OF SMALLMOUTH BASS. BUT DUE TO THEIR SHEER NUMBERS, THERE ARE MORE THAN ENOUGH
GOBIES PRESENT TO WITHSTAND BASS PREDATION. YOUNG GOBIES DEVOUR
A COMBINATION OF INSECTS, FISH EGGS, AND WHATEVER
THEY CAN GET. BECAUSE THEY HAVE
FEROCIOUS APPETITES, GOBIES CAN QUICKLY
GOBBLE UP THE EGGS IN THE UNGUARDED NESTS
OF BASS OR PANFISH. EUROPEAN RUFFE ARE ANOTHER
EUROPEAN TRANSPLANT THAT HAS MOVED INTO THE ST. LOUIS
ESTUARY AT DULUTH. LIKE GOBIES, THEY ARE
UNCHECKED PREDATORS THAT COMPETE WITH NATIVE
SPECIES LIKE YELLOW PERCH. MINNESOTA’S WATERS ALSO
HAVE BEEN INVADED BY COMMON CARP, SEA LAMPREY,
AND WHITE PERCH, ALL OF WHICH STRESS
NATIVE SPECIES. EURASIAN WATERMILFOIL IS
ONE OF THE PLANT INVADERS WHICH HAS BECOME A NUISANCE
IN MANY MINNESOTA WATERS. THE INTRODUCTION OF EURASIAN
MILFOIL TO AMERICA CAN BE TRACED TO THE AQUARIUM TRADE, WHERE PLANTS WERE IMPORTED
FOR USE IN FISH TANKS, BUT ENDED UP IN LOCAL WATERS. EURASIAN MILFOIL IS
AN AGGRESSIVE ROOTED PLANT THAT QUICKLY GROWS
TO THE SURFACE. IT SPREADS OUT ACROSS
THE WATER SURFACE, FORMING AN UMBRELLA-LIKE CANOPY
THAT BLOCKS SUNLIGHT AND CHOKES OUT THE NATIVE
PLANTS BELOW. MILFOIL FORMS DENSE,
UNSIGHTLY COVER THROUGH WHICH IT’S DIFFICULT
TO SWIM OR NAVIGATE. SMALL PIECES OF MILFOIL
CARRIED ON BOATS AND RECREATIONAL GEAR CAN
SEED A NEW INVASION IF THEY ARE CARRIED
TO OTHER LAKES. NUMEROUS ATTEMPTS
HAVE BEEN MADE TO ERADICATE EURASIAN MILFOIL AND OTHER INVASIVE AQUATIC
PLANTS FROM LAKES, MOSTLY BY CHEMICAL TREATMENTS
OR PULLING, BUT THESE EFFORTS
HAVE NOT SUCCEEDED IN COMPLETELY ELIMINATING
THE PLANTS. THE REALITY THAT ERADICATION IS
NOT USUALLY POSSIBLE MEANS PREVENTING IT FROM SPREADING
IS A TOP PRIORITY. I GREW UP OUT HERE ON
MINNETONKA SINCE THE EARLY ’70S. 1987, MILFOIL WAS FOUND
ON THE LAKE AND GROWS IN ABOUT 5 TO 15 FEET OF WATER, AND THAT 5 OR 15 FEET OF WATER,
IS TYPICALLY MATTED. WE’VE GOT A 14,000 ACRE
LAKE HERE AND OF THE LAKE ABOUT 6,000 ACRES OF IT IS THAT
5 TO 15 FEET OF WATER DEPTH. BEFORE WE HAD MILFOIL,
BEFORE THE 1987, THE LAKE WAS COMPLETELY USABLE AS FAR AS AN ACREAGE STANDPOINT.
YOU DIDN’T NOTICE IT. IT WAS ONE OF THE CLEANER
LAKES THAT WAS OUT THERE. SINCE THEN, IT’S EVERYWHERE,
5 TO 15 FEET OF WATER DEPTH. THAT’S AREAS WHERE
WE SWIM, FISH, WATERSKI, RACE SAILBOATS,
ALL THOSE DIFFERENT THINGS, AND WITH IT BEING MATTED THERE, THAT’S COMPLETELY IMPACTED OR
CHANGED THE WAY WE USE THE LAKE OR THE WAY I GREW UP
KNOWING THE LAKE. WE CAN’T USE THOSE AREAS
FOR THAT TYPE OF STUFF. ALSO PRESENT IN MINNESOTA
ARE UNWANTED POPULATIONS OF CURLY-LEAF PONDWEED,
FLOWERING RUSH, AND PURPLE LOOSESTRIFE. AQUATIC INVASIVE SPECIES
THREATEN MINNESOTA’S RICH LAKE AND RIVER HERITAGE
AND HISTORY BECAUSE THEY THREATEN THE OVERALL HEALTH
OF THESE WATERS. THEY GREATLY IMPACT
AND AT TIMES REDUCE, MAYBE EVEN ELIMINATE, OUR OPPORTUNITIES TO USE THEM
IN ANY NUMBER OF WAYS. NOW IS REALLY THE TIME TO ACT
TO PROTECT MINNESOTA’S RICH LAKE AND RIVER HISTORY
AND HERITAGE, BECAUSE THE SCIENCE
HAS SHOWN US, CITIZENS HAVE SHOWN US,
THAT ALL ACROSS THE STATE, AQUATIC INVASIVE SPECIES ARE
HAVING DEVASTATING IMPACTS ON OUR LAKES, RIVERS
AND STREAMS. MINNESOTA LAW REQUIRES
EVERYONE TO CLEAN OFF ALL PLANT MATERIAL AND ANY
PROHIBITED INVASIVE SPECIES FROM THEIR WATERCRAFT. THIS APPLIES TO BOATS, KAYAKS,
CANOES, PERSONAL WATERCRAFT, DUCK BOATS, ALL WATERCRAFT,
NO MATTER WHAT THEIR USES ARE. TO COMBAT THE SPREAD
OF INVASIVE SPECIES, THERE IS A THREE-STEP,
EASY-TO-REMEMBER PROCESS CALLED “CLEAN, DRAIN, DRY.” IT ONLY TAKES A FEW MINUTES FOR
BOATERS AND OUTDOOR ENTHUSIASTS TO APPLY THESE SIMPLE
YET EFFECTIVE STEPS EVERY TIME THEY LEAVE A BOAT
ACCESS OR BODY OF WATER. MINNESOTA HAS STRICT LAWS
TO PREVENT BOATERS AND ANYONE WORKING OR RECREATING
ON THE STATE’S WATERS FROM MOVING AQUATIC
INVASIVE SPECIES TO OTHER LAKES AND RIVERS. IT ONLY TAKES SIMPLE STEPS
TO FOLLOW THE LAWS. MANY BOATERS HAVE
BECOME ACCUSTOMED TO CHECKING THEIR TRAILERS
AND WATERCRAFT FOR AQUATIC PLANT FRAGMENTS IN AN EFFORT TO STOP THE SPREAD
OF EURASIAN MILFOIL. THIS PROCEDURE ONLY
TAKES MINUTES, AND IT CAN PREVENT A PERMANENT
INFESTATION ON ANOTHER LAKE. THIS IS NOT AN OPTIONAL
ACTIVITY IN MINNESOTA. IT’S THE LAW, AND DNR
CONSERVATION OFFICERS TAKE ANY VIOLATIONS SERIOUSLY. BECAUSE THE CONSEQUENCES
OF FAILING TO CLEAN ARE POTENTIALLY SEVERE
AND LONG-LASTING, VIOLATORS RISK GETTING CITATIONS FOR NOT FOLLOWING
THE REGULATIONS. NOW, IN ADDITION TO LOOKING
FOR AQUATIC PLANTS, IT IS ALSO NECESSARY
TO VISUALLY INSPECT AND TO FEEL THE SURFACE
OF BOATS AND EQUIPMENT FOR OTHER AQUATIC
INVASIVE SPECIES, SUCH AS TINY ZEBRA MUSSELS. IT’S BEST TO HAVE A ROUTINE FOR
YOUR INSPECTION AND CLEANING. FOR EXAMPLE,
START AT THE WINCH, AND WORK YOUR WAY AROUND
THE BOAT AND TRAILER UNTIL YOU’RE BACK AT THE WINCH
ON THE OTHER SIDE. THAT WAY YOU WON’T
MISS ANYTHING. AS YOU MOVE AROUND THE BOAT, CHECK THE ANCHOR
AND ANCHOR LINES FOR PLANTS, SNAILS, MUSSELS,
AND SPINY WATER FLEAS. SPINY WATER FLEAS OFTEN
COLLECT ON ANCHOR LINES, FISHING LINES, AND DOWNRIGGERS. ON THE TRAILER, CHECK
THE ROLLERS AND TRAILER BUNKS AND REMOVE ANY PLANTS. CHECK THE TRAILER FENDERS AND THE ENTIRE LENGTH
OF THE AXLE FOR ANY PLANTS THAT MAY BE
CLINGING TO THEM. REMOVE ANY PLANTS
THAT ARE SNAGGED ON THE BOAT’S LOWER UNIT
AND PROPELLER, AND LOWER THE MOTOR
SO IT DRAINS COMPLETELY. LOOK CLOSELY AT THE LOWER UNIT
AND MOTOR PARTS THAT ARE BELOW THE WATERLINE FOR ZEBRA MUSSELS, SNAILS,
SPINY WATER FLEAS AND OTHER AQUATIC ANIMALS. ALSO INSPECT THE HULL
AND OTHER BOAT EQUIPMENT WHERE THESE PLANTS
AND ANIMALS COULD ATTACH. A FLASHLIGHT MIGHT BE HELPFUL
TO SEE UNDER THE BOAT AND IN SHADOWS DURING
THIS INSPECTION. RUN YOUR HAND OVER THE BOAT
HULL BELOW THE WATERLINE AND OVER THE TRANSOM
TO DETECT IF THERE ARE TINY ZEBRA MUSSELS ATTACHED. WATERFOWL HUNTING AND ANGLING
PRESENT UNIQUE RISKS FOR ACCIDENTALLY SPREADING
AQUATIC INVASIVE SPECIES. IF YOU TAKE PART
IN THESE ACTIVITIES, THERE ARE EXTRA STEPS TO GET
RID OF AQUATIC HITCHHIKERS. WATERFOWL HUNTERS NEED TO
CLEAN ALL PLANTS, ANIMALS, AND MUD OFF THEIR BOATS,
TRAILERS, WADERS, PUSH POLES, DECOY LINES, AND DECOYS
WHEN THEY LEAVE THE WATER. THE MUD SHOULD BE REMOVED BECAUSE AQUATIC INVADERS
CAN BE HIDING IN IT. ANGLERS SHOULD MAKE SURE THEIR
FISHING LINES AND FISHING LURES ARE FREE OF AQUATIC PLANTS
AND ANIMALS. IF YOU USE A PERSONAL
WATERCRAFT, YOU SHOULD STEER CLEAR
OF AQUATIC PLANTS WHEN YOU HEAD INTO LAND
AT THE WATER ACCESS. WHEN YOU’VE PULLED YOUR PERSONAL
WATERCRAFT OUT OF THE WATER, CLEAR ALL PLANTS FROM THE WATER
INTAKE, IMPELLER, AND TRAILER. THEN RUN YOUR ENGINE FOR FIVE
TO TEN SECONDS TO BLOW OUT ANY REMAINING WATER
AND TO EJECT ANY PLANTS HIDDEN IN THE WATER LINES. TO COMPLY WITH STATE LAW, YOU MUST DRAIN ALL WATER
FROM YOUR WATERCRAFT AND ANY CONTAINER OR EQUIPMENT
THAT COULD HOLD WATER CARRYING INVASIVE PLANTS
OR ANIMALS. THIS MEANS YOU MUST REMOVE
THE DRAIN PLUG TO DRAIN WATER FROM YOUR BILGE, AND THEN LEAVE THE PLUG OUT
WHILE TRANSPORTING. YOU ALSO HAVE TO DRAIN
YOUR LIVE WELL, BAIT BUCKET, ANY CONTAINER,
AND RECREATIONAL EQUIPMENT. THIS INCLUDES THE LOWER UNITS
OF OUTBOARD MOTORS AND THE WATER LINES OF
PERSONAL WATERCRAFT. IF YOU’RE A WAKEBOARD
BOAT USER, YOU NEED TO BE SURE
YOU AREN’T CARRYING AQUATIC INVADERS IN
YOU BALLAST TANKS. IF YOU CAN’T COMPLETELY
DRAIN THE BALLAST TANKS, YOU SHOULD FLUSH
AND DECONTAMINATE THEM BY FILLING THEM WITH HOT WATER
THROUGH THE WATER INTAKE OR THROUGH HOLE FITTINGS. SOME AQUATIC INVASIVE SPECIES, LIKE THE LARVAL PHASE OF ZEBRA
MUSSELS AND SPINY WATER FLEAS, ARE SO SMALL THAT THEY ARE NOT
EASILY SEEN IN THE WATER. BY DRAINING WATER BEFORE
YOU LEAVE THE LAKE OR RIVER ACCESS AREA, YOU AVOID TRANSPORTING
THESE INVASIVE SPECIES ALONG WITH THE WATER. ANGLERS USING LIVE BAIT
MUST TAKE ADDITIONAL PRECAUTIONS AS WELL. THEY MUST DRAIN OUT THE WATER
IN THEIR BAIT BUCKETS ON SHORE AND REPLACE IT WITH CLEAN WATER IF THEY WANT TO SAVE BAIT
FOR FUTURE USE. THIS CAN BE DONE BY
BRINGING EXTRA WATER AND LEAVING IT IN YOUR VEHICLE. MAKE SURE YOUR WATER STAYS COOL SO THE LIFE OF YOUR BAIT
IS MAINTAINED. DISCARDED BAIT SHOULD NEVER BE
DUMPED INTO A LAKE OR RIVER, ONLY IN THE TRASH. IF YOU’RE A WATERFOWL HUNTER, YOU NEED REMEMBER TO DRAIN
YOUR DECOYS AS WELL AS YOUR BOAT. BECAUSE THE LAW
MAKES IT ILLEGAL FOR YOU TO TRANSPORT
AQUATIC INVASIVE SPECIES, THE DNR RECOMMENDS SOME
ADDITIONAL STEPS TO HELP REMOVE OR KILL AQUATIC
INVASIVE SPECIES THAT MAY BE ATTACHED TO
YOUR BOATS AND EQUIPMENT AFTER CLEANING AND DRAINING. WATERCRAFT USERS ARE
ADVISED TO DO AT LEAST ONE OR MORE
OF THESE STEPS TO REMOVE OR KILL AQUATIC
INVASIVE SPECIES THAT MIGHT BE ATTACHED
TO BOATS OR EQUIPMENT. OPTION ONE IS TO USE
HOT WATER TO RINSE ALL AREAS OF YOUR BOAT,
TRAILER, LIVE WELL, AND GEAR THAT HAVE BEEN IN THE WATER. THIS WILL KILL INVASIVE SPECIES
SUCH AS ZEBRA MUSSELS. OPTION TWO IS TO USE
A HIGH-PRESSURE WATER SPRAY ON YOUR BOAT AND GEAR TO
REMOVE INVASIVE SPECIES. IF EFFECTIVE CLEANING EQUIPMENT
IS NOT AVAILABLE, OPTION THREE IS TO LET
YOUR BOAT, GEAR, AND EQUIPMENT DRY
FOR AT LEAST FIVE DAYS. ALLOW ANY EQUIPMENT
THAT MAY HAVE ABSORBED OR COLLECTED WATER TO AIR DRY
FOR AT LEAST FIVE DAYS AS WELL. AS OWNER OF A POPULAR
GUIDE SERVICE HERE IN CENTRAL MINNESOTA, OUR FISHING GUIDES ARE
ON THE WATER DAILY, HOPPING TO A NUMBER OF DIFFERENT
LAKES THROUGHOUT THE SEASON, AND AQUATIC INVASIVE SPECIES
HAVE BECOME A MAJOR PROBLEM. BUT DO YOUR PART
AND IT’S SIMPLE: CLEAN, DRAIN AND DRY
TO HELP PREVENT THE SPREAD OF AQUATIC
INVASIVE SPECIES. THE STATE OF MINNESOTA
AND ITS RESIDENTS ARE MAKING A SIGNIFICANT COMMITMENT
TO PREVENT THE SPREAD OF INVASIVE SPECIES
BY RAMPING UP EFFORTS TO INSPECT AND DECONTAMINATE
BOATS AT WATER ACCESSES AROUND THE STATE WHERE
INVASIVE SPECIES ARE PRESENT. IN ADDITION TO VISUAL INSPECTION
BY TRAINED PERSONNEL, THESE STATIONS PROVIDE
THE ABILITY TO PRESSURE WASH YOUR
WATERCRAFT AND TRAILER WITH WATER HEATED TO
140 DEGREES FAHRENHEIT, WHICH IS HOT ENOUGH
TO KILL ZEBRA MUSSELS. IN ADDITION, MINNESOTA
HAS STARTED CONDUCTING ROADSIDE CHECKS AT RANDOM
TIMES AND LOCATIONS TO ENSURE THAT THE USERS OF OUR LAKES
AND RIVERS ARE FOLLOWING THE REGULATIONS. YOUR COOPERATION AT THESE
ROADSIDE CHECKS IS CRITICAL TO STOPPING THE SPREAD
OF INVASIVE SPECIES. IF YOU SEE ANY VIOLATIONS
OF AQUATIC SPECIES LAWS, REPORT IT TO YOUR LOCAL DNR
OFFICE OR CONSERVATION OFFICER. FOLLOWING THESE CLEAN, DRAIN,
AND DRY PROCEDURES WILL PREVENT YOU FROM GIVING ANY
INVADING AQUATIC SPECIES A RIDE TO ANOTHER
MINNESOTA RIVER OR LAKE. THE MINNESOTA DNR IS
HELPING PEOPLE LEARN HOW TO STOP THE SPREAD
OF AQUATIC INVADERS, BUT STATE, COUNTY, LOCAL AND
TRIBAL LAW ENFORCEMENT AGENCIES ARE WORKING TO EDUCATE PEOPLE
ABOUT THEIR LEGAL OBLIGATIONS AND TO ENFORCE THE LAW AS WELL. UNDER STATE LAW, LAKE SERVICE
PROVIDERS IN MINNESOTA MUST SUPPLY APPROVED TRAINING
FOR ALL OF THEIR PERSONNEL WHO INSTALL AND REMOVE
DOCKS AND LIFTS. BY TRAINING EMPLOYEES
IN WHAT TO LOOK FOR, THEY CAN DETECT AQUATIC
INVASIVE SPECIES EARLY TO HELP PREVENT THEIR SPREAD. LAKE ASSOCIATIONS AND CABIN
OWNERS HAVE ALSO BEEN LEADERS IN PREVENTING THE SPREAD
OF AQUATIC INVASIVE SPECIES BY SETTING UP AND RUNNING
LOCAL INSPECTION EFFORTS. MAJOR FISHING TOURNAMENT
ORGANIZATIONS ARE PARTICIPATING TOO, BY IMPLEMENTING REQUIREMENTS
TO PREVENT THE SPREAD OF AQUATIC INVADERS. THEY ARE SPREADING THE WORD TO THEIR PARTICIPANTS
AND AUDIENCES. LOCAL FISHING EVENTS AND SKIING
AND BOATING COMPETITIONS ARE ENCOURAGED TO TAKE
SIMILAR PROACTIVE MEASURES. ONGOING EDUCATION
OF ALL WATER USES IS THE BEST WAY TO GET
PARTICIPATION. LAWS AND ENFORCEMENT ALONE
WON’T GET THE JOB DONE. WE NEED EVERYONE WHO USES
OUR VALUABLE WATER RESOURCES TO MAKE IT HIS OR HER
PERSONAL GOAL TO PROTECT THESE
UNIQUE RESOURCES. MINNESOTA IS BLESSED
WITH A LOT OF LAKES, ALMOST UNIQUE IN THIS COUNTRY. WE ALL ENJOY ‘EM, WE HAVE
UNFETTERED ACCESS TO OUR LAKES, BUT THE SPREAD OF AQUATIC
INVASIVE SPECIES THREATENS THAT. OUR BIGGEST CHALLENGE IN,
IN WINNING THE FIGHT AGAINST THE SPREAD OF AQUATIC INVASIVE
SPECIES IN MINNESOTA IS TO ENGAGE AND ACTIVATE, ORGANIZE
ALL SEGMENTS OF THE POPULATION. NO ONE ORGANIZATION,
NO ONE AGENCY CAN DO IT. NO LAWS CAN DO IT. IT TAKES ALL THE STAKEHOLDERS
TO BE INVOLVED. THERE’S ECONOMIC, RECREATIONAL,
THE FISHING EXPERIENCE, AND UP NORTH EXPERIENCE IMPACT. IF AFFECTS EVERYONE
AND WE NEED TO DO SOMETHING. EVERY CITIZEN NEEDS
TO PARTICIPATE IN PREVENTING THE SPREAD. AQUATIC INVASIVE SPECIES
POSE A VERY REAL THREAT TO THE ECOSYSTEMS OF MINNESOTA’S
LAKES AND STREAMS. ONCE INVASIVE SPECIES
ARRIVE IN NEW AREAS, THERE ARE NO EASY WAYS
TO REMOVE THEM. NATIVE SPECIES AND HABITATS
AND THE PEOPLE WHO RELY ON THEM ARE FORCED TO ADJUST. THIS CAN MEAN THE LOSS OF PART
OF OUR OUTDOOR HERITAGE AND CAN LIMIT OUR USE OF
MINNESOTA’S WATER RESOURCES. THE BEST WAY TO
PREVENT THE SPREAD OF AQUATIC INVASIVE
SPECIES IS TO TAKE SIMPLE BUT EFFECTIVE STEPS
OF CLEAN, DRAIN, AND DRY EVERY TIME YOU ENJOY
OUR STATE’S WATERS. WITH THE ABUNDANCE OF
OUR WATER RESOURCES AND THE DIVERSITY OF GROUPS
WHO USE THEM, NO SINGLE GOVERNMENT
AGENCY OR ORGANIZATION CAN DO THE WORK ALONE. IT’S UP TO EACH AND EVERY
PERSON WHO ENJOYS THE MINNESOTA OUTDOORS TO DO HIS AND HER PART TO PREVENT
THE SPREAD OF AQUATIC SPECIES. WE’RE ALL IN THE SAME BOAT
TOGETHER, AND TOGETHER, WE CAN PROTECT
THE LAKES AND RIVERS AND THE WATER ACTIVITIES
THAT WE TREASURE. [INSTRUMENTAL MUSIC] IF YOU HAVE ANY QUESTIONS
ABOUT INVASIVE SPECIES OR HOW TO FIGHT
THE SPREAD OF THEM, PLEASE CONTACT YOUR LOCAL
MINNESOTA DNR OFFICE OR GO TO MNDNR.GOV
FOR INFORMATION AND OFFICE LOCATIONS.

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