DNR gets tougher in aquatic invasive fight.

    The agency revealed its new strategies to fight the spread of aquatic invasive species across the state in 2012. The efforts take a two-pronged approach: increase inspections and decontamination of boats at and near water bodies, especially those infested with aquatic invasive species; and increase awareness that the public must do its part not to spread invasive species.

   Boaters will find conservation officers increasing enforcement of state laws regarding the spread of aquatic invasive species. Conservation officers issued about 840 citations or warnings last year for violations of the state's aquatic invasive specials laws. That was about three times higher than the number of AIS citations and warnings issued in 2010.

    Under Minnesota law, it is illegal to transport invasive aquatic plants and animals, as well as water from water bodies infested with zebra mussels and spiny waterfleas. Violators could face fines up to $500.  At the urging of a broad coalition of conservation interests, the Legislature gave the DNR greater authority to inspect and decontaminate boats suspected of harboring aquatic invasive species.

    The DNR this year will institute new invasive species check stations, hire more watercraft inspectors, deploy more decontamination units and increase its public awareness efforts - all to stop the spread of zebra mussels and other aquatic invaders.

From: Enforcement News Digest

Spring - 2012