DNR steps up enforcement on invasive species

As boaters head for the lakes this weekend, the Department of Natural Resources will be watching for violations of aquatic invasive species laws.

The DNR plans to increase the effort to stop the spread of invasive species like zebra mussels by working with local governments to increase boat inspections.

Anyone using lakes or rivers needs to know the rules or expect to pay a fine, said DNR invasive species unit coordinator Ann Pierce.

"It's really important that people take the responsibility, understand what the law is and follow it," Pierce said.

She added: "They should not assume that they're going to get a warning. They should assume they will get a ticket if they are found without their plug pulled or things like that. I think people should go forward understanding that the laws are in place and if the law isn't followed you should expect to get a ticket."

Pierce said she believes that people will take responsibility if they understand the consequences of invasive species spreading across the state.

"They can impact fish populations, they can impact water quality and they can really impact recreational activities," she said.

The DNR will have 150 invasive species inspectors and three zebra mussel sniffing dogs checking boats this year.

Last year the DNR wrote 998 citations and 1,550 warnings for aquatic invasive species violations. Fines range from $100 to $500.

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