On Thursday, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources updated its websites to add dozens of new locations to the list of which lakes and rivers are infested with invasive species.
"The designation of waters with aquatic invasive species highlights the urgency for increased awareness and vigilance by people who are transporting water or water-related equipment such as boats, docks and boat lifts," said Jay Rendall, DNR invasive species prevention coordinator. "Extra effort is needed to clean, drain and dry all equipment to prevent further spread from infested waters."
Invasive species alert signs are posted at the public water accesses of infested waters. The fill list of infested waters can be found online here. [PDF]
Bighead and silver carp
The following lakes and bodies of water have been added to the infested waters list due to Asian carp concerns:
Many unnamed lakes, creeks and ditches connected to infested waters in Jackson County are also designated as infested.
The designations mean new regulations will prohibit harvesting and transporting bait or water from those areas.
The DNR says it is possible that invasive Asian carp have moved into southwestern Minnesota through the Missouri River watershed, and that has prompted many water bodies in the area to be designated as infested with bighead and silver carp; however, neither the DNR nor commercial fisherman have caught one yet despite electrofishing and gill netting on the Little Sioux River and nearby aquatic basins.
The DNR plans to survey fish in Little Spirit Lake and Loon Lake this summer.
The following waterways have been added to the infested list:
An unnamed gravel pit in Steele County has also been deemed infested.
Five new lakes have been found to be infested with zebra mussels. They are:
More waters may be designated this summer and fall if they are determined to be infested.
Stopping the spread
Boaters and anglers can help stop the spread of aquatic hitchhikers by cleaning, draining and drying their boats and equipment. Officials recommend cleaning all plants, mussels, snails, spiny waterfleas and mud from boats, trailers and equipments prior to leaving the water access point.
It is also recommended that boats and equipment be sprayed with a high-pressure hot wash and allowed to dry for five days before entering a different body of water.
Failing to drain bilges, live wells and bait containers is a misdemeanor violation that could carry a fine ranging between $50 and $200.