Watercraft Inspections at DNR Roadside Check Stations

DNR Enforcement of Invasive Species  at Road Check Station

In the continuing effort to prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species, the Minnesota DNR has again started its unannouced roadside checks of boaters on public roads.

A recent statistic: 1 out of 6 boats in 2015 is violating the invasive species laws. Leaving the drain plug in while traveling on the highway is a common violation. All water must be drained out of a boat before going on the highway.   If bait is transported after coming out of a lake, the old water must be dumped out, and replaced with new  clean water from home.

car/boat approaching DNR Checkpoint

MN DNR roadside checkpoint in Crow Wing County for invasive species

Turnoff for DNR checkpoint can be seen in the distance

More than boats can spread invasive species.   Particularly dangerous is any waterfront equipment that has been sitting in a lake for even a few days. So roadside checks will include more than boats and trailers.

However, at the 2013 Memorial Day weekend  roadside check only boats and trailers were seen.

This year, 2014, the MN DNR plans to increase the number of roadside checks.

Understanding that the boaters did not want to be delayed on this holiday weekend the DNR officers worked efficiently to check the boats and water-related equipment.

It appeared that most boaters were through the process in 3 or 4 minutes.  If it took longer than that it was because the boater had questions.

At the same time DNR officers were at the roadside check area other officers were at a local boat access checking arriving and departing boaters for invasive species.

Citations were issued at both locations when violations were found.

New to the DNR, and present for this inspection, was a dog trained to detect zebra mussels. We did not see the dog in action, but they reportedly are very efficient and can speed up an inspection considerably.

DNR road check, Boat on trailer arriving at inspection site

Boat on trailer arriving at the inspection site

Roadside check

DNR Level 1 inspectors checking underneath boat for aquatic vegetation.

Checking springs closely for vegetation and zebra mussels

Vegetation or zebra mussels can be hidden on springs or electrical wiring

MN DNR dog can detect zebra mussels

The MN DNR has three dogs that are trained to find zebra mussels. They are fast and efficient.

It is not legal to travel on public roads with any sort of aquatic vegetation.

MN DNR portable decontamination unit, zebra mussels

MN DNR portable decontamination unit used to clean boats suspected of having invasive species. High pressure hot water is sprayed to kill and remove zebra mussels.

 

 

Conservation Officer Nikki Shoutz, WAPOA President Dave Fischer

Former WAPOA President Dave Fischer talks with MN DNR Conservation Officer Nikki Shoutz. She is now retired.