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Inspectors find 500 unclean boats per year

Editor's note: The following information was provided by Todd County Soil and Water Conservation District.

Minnesota is fortunate to have 11,842 lakes and the highest per capita watercraft ownership in the U.S. However, all those boats moving from lake to lake can create problems since boats and trailers easily move vegetation, mud and water between water bodies with the result being non-native invasive species infestations.

Todd County Soil and Water Conservation District has been implementing the AIS prevention program since 2015 to reduce the spread of AIS that can negatively impact the lakes. Over 29,000 boat inspections have been completed on 30 different lakes. Signage, monitoring, and education and outreach have also been a part of the program funded through state AIS prevention funds.

On average, over 500 boats in Todd County are identified as unclean by AIS inspectors and prevented from moving materials between lakes. Inspectors can only cover about 10 percent of landings so this equates to about 5,000 unclean launches made each year, which poses a very real AIS infestation risk.

Boat inspection data from 2015 to 2018 revealed that boaters from an average of 21 states launch boats in Todd County each year. An estimated 1,890 boat launches are made from out-of-state craft, explaining how AIS problems can leapfrog around the country. Boat inspectors record the last lake visited as reported by the boat owner. Many of the lakes reported are known to have AIS infestations.

A plan to incorporate what was learned during the first four years of the AIS program is being developed and will be implemented again this boating season. The overall goal is to prevent additional AIS infestations.

Help us accomplish our goal and be sure your boat is clean, drained and dry before launching. For more information, visit the Todd County Web Site or MN DNR under Aquatic Invasive Species.