Bold action: Lake protection, decontamination unit on agenda

Becker County, in conjunction with Becker County Coalition of Lake Associations (COLA) and the City of Detroit Lakes, announces a one-day seminar on Tuesday, Sept. 30.

Becker County, in conjunction with Becker County Coalition of Lake Associations (COLA) and the City of Detroit Lakes, announces a one-day seminar on Tuesday, Sept. 30.

The event begins at 10 a.m. and concludes at 3 p.m. in the Holiday Inn in Detroit Lakes.

Local government agencies, lake association members, angling and recreational organizations, lake service providers, and those advocating for public water protection from Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) using thermal decontamination units are encouraged to attend.

The event is open to the public at no charge, and pre-registration is not required.

“Bold Action Now … Next Steps in Fighting AIS” is the theme for the seminar.


“Urgency is paramount if Minnesota lakes are to be shielded from infestation by aquatic invasive species like zebra mussels, Eurasian watermilfoil, spiny waterfleas, and others not yet in Minnesota” says Tera Guetter, Vice President, Becker County COLA and Administrator, Pelican River Watershed District.

“Hydroblaster decontamination equipment gives Becker County better tools to do the job,” Guetter continued.

Becker County has purchased the first Hydroblaster decontamination unit in Minnesota. The $10 million Aquatic Invasive Species Prevention Aid money to counties made this purchase possible.  This funding to local governments was appropriated by the 2014 Legislature to take the necessary next steps to develop Aquatic Invasive Species prevention programs.

“Becker County understands the importance of providing decontamination equipment in the fight against AIS. Recently, two of our county lakes became infested with zebra mussels, and so now the threat is becoming more real,” Becker County Administrator Jack Ingstad said.

“The new money has helped us move our program along.  We are gearing up for our 2015 program this fall. Healthy lakes are very important to our local economy and we want to do what we can to protect them so residents and tourists can continue to enjoy our 412 lakes in Becker Country,” he added.    

Presenter Jim Foust represents Utah based Hydro Engineering, Inc., the manufacturer of the Hydroblaster decontamination equipment that Becker County has purchased. Foust has launched many decontamination programs and will address what needs to be considered for an effective AIS program. 

Foust will share his experiences and research on what is required to properly decontaminate watercraft. Hydro Engineering, Inc. has patented technology for collection, containment and reclaim.

Becker County purchased the mobile decontamination and reclaim system that will be showcased at the Holiday Inn event. Foust will be available to answer questions regarding AIS. He is a national leader in this work; this is his first Minnesota presentation.


The Sept. 30 seminar is open to attendees statewide.

Jeff Forester, executive director of Minnesota Lakes & Rivers Advocates (MLR), said, “Minnesota is the Land of 10,000 Lakes, and that is our primary challenge in dealing with AIS. But this new funding at the local level is leveraging our best asset, the hundreds of thousands of people who love these lakes.

“By providing funding at the local level the Legislature is capitalizing on this unique Minnesota resource, our lake advocates. MLR’s members worked very hard to get this funding in place and we are gratified to see the money being used so well in Becker County and in other areas of the state.”

On Oct. 1 and 2, Foust will conduct factory training for Becker County watercraft inspectors and decontaminators. Training will include the proper use of Hydro Engineering field proven decontamination attachments and methods of performing effective thermal watercraft decontamination to ensure desired results.

Becker County watercraft inspectors and decontaminators will be fully accredited to conduct their inspection duties and will be certified after 20 hours of advanced training.

This unique certification provides the most advanced training of its kind in Minnesota. 

John Okeson, Becker County commissioner, said, “Providing the best training course possible, positions our inspectors and decontaminators to quickly identify AIS watercraft threats and provide decontaminating options prior to launching in area lakes.”

In 2011 and 2012, Becker County hosted the first legislative summits of its kind which carried citizen messages to legislators indicating that more needed to be done to protect Minnesota’s Land of 10,000 Lakes. Increased AIS legislation has continued each session after the first significant 2010 “pull the plug” law to help protect Minnesota’s water resources from AIS.


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