Updated: 07/11/2014 2:26 PM
Created: 07/10/2014 5:46 PM KSTP.com
By: Todd Wilson
The Minnesota Dept. of Natural Resources is seeing boaters taking unacceptable and illegal risks by transporting invasive species. So far this season, they have found more than 1,300 boaters at public access with plants, invasive species or water in or on their boats.
Officers have issued 169 tickets and 375 warnings. Fines range from $100 to $500. A portion of the fines,$87, goes to court costs, and the rest back into enforcement. Check stations are finding the most problems.
"We're running at 26 percent violation rate. That means one out of four boats coming into these check stations are in violation of one of our laws," Captain Greg Salog of the DNR said.
In the spring of last year, the DNR started using dogs to help find invasive species on boats. DNR officials say dogs help them cut down on the spread of invasive species statewide.
"He has been successful ... half a dozen times sniffing stuff I can't see," Lisa Siems of the DNR said with zebra dog, Brady, by her side.
Right now the DNR has two dogs and should have four more on duty this year.
Other Minnesotans, like Kurt Kadillac, say they're doing their best to help. "It's to late to stop it, but you can prevent it to the lakes that aren't infested," he said.
Thursday, July 10 through Monday, July 14, the DNR is stepping up enforcement of this law, so boaters should be prepared for extra inspections at area boat launches and make sure they are aware of invasive species laws.
University of Minnesota Aquatic Invasive Species Expert, Ray Newman, explains it's impossible to completely stop the spread of invasive species, but these steps will reduce the spread.