Posted at: 04/04/2013 6:33 PM
By: Jenna Lohse
(ABC 6 NEWS) -- The ice may still be frozen on most lakes in Southern Minnesota, but the DNR is getting an early start on the fight against invasive species.
The ice is slowly but surely thawing on Minnesota lakes, and boating season means more than just a fight on the other end of your fishing pole.
"Everyone's concerned about the zebra mussels, but I think we've come to accept them to some degree,” said Ronald Fuller of Oronoco.
Ronald Fuller has no choice but to accept them. He's lived on Lake Zumbro for more than 30 years and in recent years zebra mussels have invaded.
"Education is certainly key and we can at least slow down the spread of invasive species by cleaning boats, empting live wells and so forth,” said Fuller.
The DNR says it's everyone's responsibility to check for invasive species. They're making sure businesses do the same by requiring a permit for those who have water related equipment.
"They're the ones who are transporting docks, rafts, boats, trailers. We're going to target them first,” said DNR Conservation Officer Jacqueline Glaser.
"There has been documented cases where a business has transported a dock from one water body that had invasive species onto another water body that didn't have it,” said Glaser.
Thursday's lake service provider training was the first for some employers.
"We'll be changing our practices,” said Todd Rice, of Midwest Lawn Sprinklers.
Todd Rice is the owner of Midwest Lawn Sprinklers and after taking the class he says he wouldn't want to be the one responsible for contaminating a lake.
"Our equipment the suction lines and stuff that stays on site, never leaves there it's not a problem, but the waiters to go into the lake and then we'll come out of the lake and go to another lake so that process will change,” said Rice.
"I’ve lived on this lake for a long time and love this lake want to preserve it for future generations so we do whatever we can to help save the lake,” said Fuller.
Education is the best tool to stop the spread of invasive species. With boating season right around the corner, now's the time to learn what to look out for.