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DNR steps up invasive species enforcement on July weekends

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The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is increasing enforcement efforts to prevent the transportation of aquatic invasive species from several lakes in the Alexandria.

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Additional conservation officers will target these areas during peak weekend use in an effort to protect resources and educate boaters and anglers about zebra mussels that were discovered in Lake Le Homme Dieu, part of the Alexandria chain of lakes, in late June.

The following lakes have been selected for enhanced enforcement surveillance:

· July 3-5 - Alexandria chain of lakes (Douglas County)

· July 10-12 - Lake Osakis (Todd and Douglas counties)

· July 16-18 - Otter Tail and West Battle Lakes (Otter Tail

County)

· July 24-26 - Minnewaska (Pope County)

Minnesota's water resources are threatened by numerous aquatic invasive species such as the zebra mussel, Eurasian watermilfoil and purple loosestrife.

"Invasive species can be easily transported from one lake to another, but taking some simple precautions can minimize the risk," said Capt. John Hunt, DNR water resource enforcement manager.

Hunt offered boaters these suggestions:

· Draining bait buckets, bilges and live wells before leaving any water access is a good habit to develop.

· Removing aquatic plants and zebra mussels from boats and trailers to prevent the spread of invasive species is required by law.

· Draining all water, including pulling the drain plug, is required by aw when leaving waters that have been designated as infested with spiny water fleas or zebra mussels.

Officers and watercraft inspectors will hand out materials to educate boaters and anglers so that they take more responsibility in preventing the spread of invasives when they transport their boats from lake to lake.

Under Minnesota law, it is illegal to transport aquatic plants, zebra mussels, other prohibited species and water from infested waters. Violators could face fines up to $500.

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