Invasive Species Violations Drop in Minn., DNR Still Urges Caution

Updated: 03/28/2014 7:43 PM By: Cassie Hart

The rate of aquatic invasive species violations dropped in Minnesota in 2013, however the DNR is still warning boaters to check their boats.
According to the Department of Natural Resources' annual report, the violation rate dropped to 20 percent last year, compared to 31 percent in 2012.
The rate is the proportion of people who were issued citations at roadside check stations set up by conservation officers.
Lt. Col. Rodmen Smith, the DNR Enforcement Division assistant director, says the decrease is good but one in five boaters is still breaking the law.
The report also says DNR officials who look at boats and equipment at water accesses conducted 123,000 inspections, which was an increase of nearly 62 percent since 2011.

The state is now studying ways to stop the spread of zebra mussels, eurasian watermilfoil, and spiny waterfleas.

But the owner of Tonka Bay Marina on Lake Minnetonka, Gabriel Jabbor, says boats aren't the only problem. He also warns of docks being transferred from one lake to another. The pipes underneath will often contain zebra mussels.

Last year, DNR watercraft inspectors conducted more than 123,000 inspections. This year, the DNR plans to double to number of roadside boat inspections.

Boaters found in violation could face a $125 fine.