DNR adds cleaning stations to 200 boat launches to fight invasives

In its continuing effort to stop the spread of invasive aquatic species, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is adding more than 200 "clean-and-drain" sites at boat launches across the state.

The $10,000 project will target high-risk and high-use waters across the state. The do-it-yourself cleaning areas may have an inspector, but no more staff than normal, said Nancy Stewart, the DNR's public water access program coordinator.

Each site will have a compost bin and sign reminding people how to inspect their boat for aquatic hitchhikers. The DNR recently discovered zebra mussels on two lakes near Brainerd.

"We're trying to encourage boaters to pull away from the launch ramp and up in to these 'clean and drain areas' before pulling the boat plug and cleaning any aquatic vegetation off their boat," Stewart said.

The cleaning areas will be away from the boat launch to help keep traffic levels down at the landings.

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