Sheriff's Office role in AIS prevention
The Cass County Sheriff’s Office attends several recreational and lake association meetings and is often asked about involvement with Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS). The Sheriff’s Office is active in the prevention and education of the transportation of Zebra Mussels, Eurasian Water Milfoil and other species. You have probably seen or read invasive species articles, posters and media campaigns in the past. I would like to review why they are harmful and how you can help stop the spread by following a few simple steps.
The above named species are not native to Minnesota and cause economic or environmental harm or harm to human health. They can be very damaging. Minnesota waters are threatened by aquatic invasive species. It is illegal to transport any aquatic plants, zebra mussels, New Zealand mud snails or other prohibited invasive species or to launch a boat or trailer with these species attached. The DNR does an excellent job inspecting boats and boat landings but you can help prevent the spread by understanding the law and following a few simple rules when transporting boats and trailers.
The Sheriff’s Office staff hands out key-chains with the following information printed at them at recreational and lake association meetings, as well as to parties that we come into contact with on area lakes and landings:
It is important to know the law; you may not:
• Transport watercraft without removing the drain plug.
• Arrive at lake access with drain plug in place.
• Transport aquatic plants, zebra mussels, or other prohibited species on any roadway.
• Launch a watercraft with prohibited species attached.
• Transport water from Minnesota lakes or rivers.
• Release live bait into the water.
1. Clean all visible aquatic plants, zebra mussels, and other prohibited invasive species from watercraft, trailers, and water-related equipment before leaving any water access or shore land.
2. Drain water-related equipment (boat, ballast tanks, portable bait containers, motor, drain bilge, live well and bait well) by removing drain plugs before leaving a water access or shoreline property. Keep drain plugs out and water-draining devices open while transporting watercraft.
3. Dispose of unwanted bait, including minnows, leeches, and worms, in the trash. It is illegal to release live bait into a water body or release aquatic animals from one water body to another. If you want to keep your live bait, you must refill the bait container with bottled or tap water.
Some additional tips that the MN DNR offers is to: Spray, rinse, dry. Some invasive species are small and difficult to see at the access. To remove or kill them, take one or more of the following precautions before moving to another water body, especially after leaving zebra mussel and spiny water flea infested waters. Spray with high-pressure water, rinse with very hot water and dry for at least five days. Run motor and personal watercraft for a few seconds to discharge water before leaving a water access. Transport fish on ice (bring a cooler) and be prepared to have the cooler inspected.
If you would like to have Cass County Sheriff’s Office Recreational Deputy come to an association or neighborhood event and discuss AIS and what you can do to prevent them, please contact our office at 218-547-1424.
If you have specific questions that you would like answered in this column or in person, contact me using one of the following methods: email: firstname.lastname@example.org, phone: 218-547-1424 or 1-800-450-2677. By mail or in person: Cass County Sheriff’s Office, 303 Minnesota Ave W, P.O. Box 1119, Walker, MN 56484.