Three western suburban lakes associations are suing the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources over zebra mussel boat inspections.
Groups representing Bavaria, Christmas, and Lotus lakes in Carver County say the state isn't doing enough to slow the spread of the invasive species. They want a judge to order the DNR to give them permission to set up an inspection station and barriers at boat ramps.
Richard Thomson, an attorney representing the lake associations, said it's important to prevent zebra mussels from being carried from nearby Lake Minnetonka, which is already infested.
"The zebra mussels destroy the ecology of the lake for fishing," Thomson said. "They put toxins into the fish that fishermen catch and eat; they change the kind of fish that are available in the lakes; they destroy swimming at the lakes."
Carver County and other local governments would pay for the inspections.
The DNR says it has no authority to require boaters to visit an inspection station that's separate from a lake access.
"We also believe that doing something like this, gating public accesses, would create a backlash against our current prevention efforts in the public's mind," DNR spokesman Chris Niskanen said.
Niskanen said pending legislation could allow that approach, but it's not currently in the law. He said it would also be more expensive than the groups think.