New Approach to Fighting Invasive Species

Created: 07/26/2014 10:33 AM

(KSTP) -- Carver County is considering a creative new approach to keep aquatic invasive species out of its lakes; all 115 of them.

This week, the county board proposed the idea of a single location for all boat inspections. Some call the idea innovative, others say it's inconvenient.

When Mark Pozoroski brings his boat from Burnsville to Chanhassen for a day of fishing, he knows an inspector will give it a once-over at Lake Minnewashta. Then, it's off the trailer and on the water.

If Carver County goes forward with a plan to enhance the way it polices aquatic invasive species, this process would change. Right now, inspectors are on standby at every lake. Under the new idea, all inspections would take place at a single location.

 “There are upsides to that, like it might be cheaper to have all inspectors in one spot, and the downside is everybody has to go to one spot," according to County Commissioner Gayle Degler.

Once boats are inspected, boaters can go launch at any lake in the county.

 "I think it's going to be a challenge," said Pozoroski.

The first-of-its-kind in the state concept came up, because there's more state money for prevention efforts. The county is getting an extra $60,000 this year and nearly twice that amount next year.

 “The ones that really worry us are zebra mussels, those have been found in neighboring lakes,” according to Degler.

Those neighboring lakes include Prior Lake and Lake Minnetonka. The thought is to prevent boats coming from those lakes from potentially polluting the water in Carver County.

"If it’s a proven fact it's going to keep other lakes clean, I guess it's something that we all have to chip in and do."

Some Carver County lakes have milfoil in them. There have been no reports of zebra mussels so far.

County Commissioners say the plan needs more research and still must go before the Park Board for consideration.