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Northland Boaters: Aquatic Invasive Species Are Ongoing Problem

Ryan Juntti
Updated: July 01, 2019 10:22 PM

Many people can't wait to get their boats out on the water this holiday weekend. Boating is one of the popular 4th of July activities, but that also means the risk of spreading aquatic invasive species is high.

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It's common this time of year on the St. Louis River to see boats launching from and leaving the landing, but if boaters aren't careful, aquatic invasive species can attach to trailers and the boats themselves.

"If people want to have waters where fish exist and everything else, it's really upon that person to make sure they're doing their part to not spread anything," said Dan Motschenbacher, who was boating on the St. Louis River on Monday.

But Motschenbacher joins other boaters in saying it may already be too late.

"I think it's a huge issue. Almost kind of seems unstoppable at this point," said Motschenbacher.

"This waterway is impacted, and you're never going to clean that. That's going to be here forever," said Jeff Miller, who was boating on the St. Louis River on Monday.

"I've been fishing with spinners on bottom, and they'll attach right to your nightcrawler or leech," said Allen Soukkala, who was boating on the St. Louis River on Monday.

Boaters WDIO News spoke with say that aquatic invasive species are prevalent on the St. Louis River, but they also say they take proper precautions to make sure they aren't spreading them.

"In my case the best thing I can do is just check for any weeds or anything like that, or mussels or things like that on the trailer when I pull out," said Motschenbacher.

"I'll look in my trailer every time I drain my livewell, pull the plug in the boat," said Miller.

"I don't leave my boat in the water. I go from lake to lake, and I drain and I pull my plug," said Soukkala.

The DNR wants to remind boaters and anglers of laws that require them to:

  • 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.

On Monday, the surcharge on the three-year watercraft registration increased from $5 to $10.60 per vessel. The DNR says the increased fee will "significantly ehnance aquatic invasive species prevention and management in Minnesota."

The DNR says this will be done by providing an increase of $880,000 per year for the DNR's invasive species program for fiscal years 2020-2021. The DNR says this will allow them to reinstate local AIS management grants, respond to new discoveries, and continue to conduct AIS inspections.

Watercraft owners will pay the increased fee when registering new watercraft, or when the registrations on existing watercraft come up for renewal.

Credits

Ryan Juntti

Copyright 2019 WDIO-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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