Skip to main content

1 in 5 Minnesota boaters violate invasive species rules


Boaters in Minnesota are doing a better job of following state laws to stop the spread of aquatic invasive species, but there’s still a ways to go, according to the state Department of Natural Resources.

The agency said 20 percent, or one in five boaters checked by Minnesota conservation officers at roadside stops last year were breaking the law, the West Central Tribune reports. That's an improvement on the 31 percent violation rate in 2012, said DNR officials. But they are aiming for a "zero" violation rate in the coming year.

The law requires boaters and anglers to clean their boats and equipment and drain all water from the boat, livewells, etc., when they leave a lake, to keep aquatic invasive species like zebra mussels and Eurasian water milfoil from spreading, MPR News reports.

People are aware of the invasive species laws, said Rodmen Smith, assistant director of the DNR's enforcement division. But they don't always follow through, according to MPR News.

“What we’re seeing with the weeds and aquatic vegetation is people have an attitude ‘well, that is good enough. There are sure a lot of weeds on there. I got most of them,’” he said.

"Unfortunately 'a couple on there' isn't good enough," Smith said, adding that it takes only one piece of vegetation to carry an invasive plant or microscopic-sized veligers (larvae) of zebra mussels to the next lake.

The DNR is planning to double the number of roadside checkpoints this year, from 18 to 36, according to the West Central Tribune.

Inspectors will also check boats at launches and other lake access points this year. The DNR had 150 inspectors at lake accesses last year, and they conducted 123,000 inspections, according to the agency.

Next Up

Flickr - police lights squad siren - Edward Kimmel

Woman in critical condition after being shot in the head in St. Paul

Officers responded to the incident at around 2:45 a.m. Saturday.

Alexander Mattison

Vikings-Lions: 5 things you can count on

It's a great time for the Vikings to play the Lions.


Omicron variant confirmed in Wisconsin man who traveled to South Africa

Five other cases have been confirmed and linked to a Wisconsin wedding.

Sharon Mollerus - duluth - snow plow car

Sunday snowstorm walloping MN's North Shore with huge totals

Just ridiculous snow totals expected the rest of Sunday.

Screen Shot 2021-12-05 at 6.49.03 AM

Saturday snow causes havoc on Twin Cities roads

There were countless spinouts and crashes across Minnesota.

Kirill Kaprizov

Wild win battle of NHL's hottest teams, extend winning streak to six

Kirill Kaprizov delivered a shootout winner to take down the Maple Leafs.

Eric Kendricks

Vikings downgrade Eric Kendricks to out against Lions

The Vikings have also activated Michael Pierce from injured reserve.

u.s. attorney

Minnesotan sentenced after assaulting man with baseball bat

Marshall Wayne Boshey was sentenced to 30 months in prison followed by two years of supervised release.

Target store

Target's gift card discount is back, but for this weekend only

The fine print: for Target Circle members only (but membership is free).


Penalties double for invasive species violations

Tougher laws aimed to prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species, like zebra mussels and spiny waterfleas, go into effect Sunday, July 1 -- doubling fines for Minnesota boaters who are caught violating the rules. The Department of Natural Resources says about 20 percent of boaters are not taking the basic precautions to comply with the laws. The new fines range from $100 to $500 dollars.