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OUTDOORS NOTEBOOK: Pay attention to AIS

Carrie Ackerman, aquatic invasive species trainer with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, shows a group what to look for on boats during a training session in August at the Beltrami County Administration building. (Pioneer file photo)

Pay attention to AIS

ST. PAUL—Saturday's fishing opener comes with a reminder for Minnesotans to continue to follow the laws to prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species, according to the Department of Natural Resources.

Last year, compliance surpassed 97 percent at more than 450,000 watercraft inspections. DNR Enforcement officers are seeing a steady increase in the number of people who know and follow aquatic invasive species laws.

"Nearly all Minnesota anglers and boaters are taking the three simple steps: clean, drain, dispose," said DNR Enforcement Operations Manager Jackie Glaser. "It's not only the best way to prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species, but it's also the law in Minnesota."

Boaters and anglers are reminded to:

• Clean aquatic plants and debris from watercraft.

• Drain lake or river water and keep drain plugs out during transport.

• Dispose of unwanted bait in the trash, not in the water.

In addition to these steps, especially after leaving infested waters, the DNR recommends that anglers:

• Spray boat and trailer with high-pressure water.

• Rinse boat and trailer with hot water (120 degrees Fahrenheit for two minutes; or 140 degrees Fahrenheit for 10 seconds); or

• Dry boat and equipment for at least five days.

More information is available at www.mndnr.gov/AIS.

Removing lake plants could require a permit

ST. PAUL—Lakeshore property owners are reminded that a permit may be required to remove aquatic plants, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

"We need plants to have healthy lakes and strong fish populations, it's as simple as that," said Jon Hansen, DNR aquatic plant management consultant. "So each year we remind folks to let them grow but if they are set on removing plants, please check regulations to see if they need a permit."

Aquatic plants provide food and shelter for fish, ducks and other wildlife. They stabilize the lake bottom, which helps maintain water clarity. These plants also protect shorelines from erosion by absorbing energy from waves and ice.

Additionally, the DNR is getting questions about devices that generate water current to blast muck and plants away.

"We refer to these devices as hydraulic jets and even though you can buy one, they cannot be used in any way that disturbs the bottom of the lake or uproots plants," Hansen said.

Specific regulations govern what situations require permits for aquatic plant removal. Aquatic plant regulations and a guide to aquatic plants can be found at mndnr.gov/shorelandplants. To apply for a permit, visit the DNR's permitting and reporting system at mndnr.gov/mpars.

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