Bracing for more boater activity on this extended holiday weekend, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources will be scouring boats for the invasive species known as zebra mussels, as well as other aquatic hitchhikers.
As Minnesota Public Radio reports, the DNR will have 150 invasive-species inspectors and three zebra mussel-sniffing dogs checking boats this year.
The mussels in particular are nasty little critters, pretty adept at attaching themselves to the props and undersides of boats, and are easily spread by boaters who launch and re-launch their watercraft in various bodies of water.
Ann Pierce of the DNR tells MPR that those who don't check are likely going to get fined, and they should expect increased inspections. "They should not assume that they're going to get a warning," Pierce says. "They should assume they will get a ticket if they are found without their plug pulled or things like that."
In 2012 the DNR wrote 998 citations and 1,550 warnings for aquatic invasive species violations. Fines range from $100 to $500, according to MPR.