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wayne123

DNR News Release: Boaters reminded to help stop aquatic hitchhikers (2007-05-08)

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A friendly reminder for all the boaters out there (from the DNR website).

Boaters reminded to help stop aquatic hitchhikers (2007-05-08)

With the start of the 2007 boating and fishing season approaching, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is asking boaters and anglers to keep up the good work in minimizing the spread of aquatic invasive species.

"The continuing spread of zebra mussels and the discovery of New Zealand mudsnails in Minnesota have us especially concerned," said Jay Rendall, DNR invasive species program coordinator. "The potential to spread aquatic invasive species increases each year and we need Minnesotans to continue with their high level of action."

Zebra mussels were discovered a few years ago in the Brainerd area and New Zealand mudsnails were recently found for the first time in the Duluth harbor.

By taking a few simple steps when leaving a lake or river, boaters and anglers can do their part to help stop the spread of aquatic hitchhikers such as Eurasian watermilfoil and zebra mussels in the state's water bodies. Those steps include removing all aquatic plants from boats and trailers and emptying water from live wells and bait containers.

Those who leave lakes and rivers the DNR has listed as infested waters need to be especially careful, Rendall said. Anglers who have live bait and want to keep it for another time should drain any infested water from the bait container and replace it with tap or spring water. Signs are posted at public access points to identify infested waters. A complete list of infested waters is available at www.dnr.state.mn.us.

Rendall said boaters should also remember to dispose of unwanted live bait including worms and minnows in the trash rather than dumping them in the lakes and woods.

The DNR is continuing to use the national "Stop Aquatic Hitchhikers!" logo to remind boaters and anglers to take precautions. It is likely people will see the icon and messages in a variety of places this year including billboards, gas pump toppers, newspapers and on outdoor banners. Signs at public accesses, reminders from DNR watercraft inspectors, radio and television ads, and public service announcements will also be used to reach boaters this summer.

"Precautions should now be part of the routine for boaters," Rendall said. "These simple actions help boaters comply with the state laws that prohibit the transport of aquatic plants, zebra mussels, and other prohibited invasive species."

Last year, DNR biologists found 13 additional waters infested with Eurasian watermilfoil, bringing the total number of infested water bodies in the state to 190. Inland waters known to be infested with zebra mussels include Lake Ossawinnamakee and Rice Lake near Brainerd, Mille Lacs Lake, and Lake Zumbro north of Rochester. The Mississippi River from its confluence with the Pine River down to the Iowa border is also on the infested waters list.

More information about aquatic invasive species and a list of infested waters can be found in the 2007 Minnesota Fishing Regulations booklet.

The Minnesota Legislature directed the DNR to establish the Invasive Species Program in 1991 to address problems caused by aquatic invasive species. The program is responsible for preventing introductions, curbing their spread and managing invasive species of aquatic plants and wild animals.

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