Crow Wing County inspectors found a zebra mussel in a livewell on a boat launching into Lake Hubert on Memorial Day weekend. The boat was sent to the nearest decontamination unit to properly clean the boat before being launched into Lake Hubert.
The Crow Wing County Land Services Department reminds boat owners to properly clean boats after leaving a water body.
“This is an example of the county being proactive to keep aquatic invasive species (AIS) out of our lakes,” said county water protection specialist Mitch Brinks.
Crow Wing first started the AIS boat inspection program in 2011 on the Whitefish Chain. In 2012, the county provided inspection services to the Whitefish Chain, Pelican Lake, North Long Lake and Bay Lake.
The program was expanded in 2013 for the following lakes: Whitefish Chain (accesses at Clamshell, Lower Hay, Upper Whitefish, Big Trout, Crosslake); North Long (accesses at the 371 Bay and Merrifield Bay); Bay Lake; Kimble Lake; Mitchell Lake; Kego Lake; East/West Fox Lake; Horseshoe Lake; Lower South Long; Upper South Long; Hubert; and Bass.
The AIS program is a partnership with the Department of Natural Resources and area lake association volunteers conducting inspections at boat accesses.
Minnesota state statutes require that boaters must remove all plants, mud and debris from watercraft, trailers and water related equipment before leaving a water access. In addition, water must be drained from all water related equipment including boats, portable bait containers and motors and also drain bilges, livewells and baitwells by removing drain plugs.
Drain plugs must be kept out while transporting watercraft. All unused bait such as minnows, leaches and worms must be disposed off in the trash and cannot be released into a water body.
Fines for violation of the law range from $100-$500.