Three Rivers AIS Efforts

decontam.jpgThree Rivers has been contributing to the shared efforts of many agencies to combat aquatic invasive species (AIS). Earlier this year, we hosted a joint workshop with the West Metro AIS Coordinating Committee of the Lake Minnetonka Conservation District (LMCD). We also obtained grants from Hennepin County to increase watercraft inspections at high-risk boat launches to minimize the spread of AIS in Independence, Medicine, Bryant, Fish, Hyland and Twin Lakes. The grants funded purchase of a watercraft decontamination unit at Baker Park Reserve to facilitate decontamination of boats leaving Lake Independence, which was infested with zebra mussels last year. Keep reading to learn more about our important pilot project.

This pilot project is targeted at boats leaving the lake when they represent a high risk of transporting aquatic invasive species from Lake Independence to other water bodies. For example, boats that have been in the water for more than 24 hours or will be going to another water body within 24 hours. Other high risk situations involve boats that have unverifiable water which an inspector can’t see, and watercraft that have visibly attached aquatic invasive species.

Inspections are conducted on watercraft entering and exiting the boat launch area. Incoming boats that fail inspection are denied permission to launch until they have been decontaminated. Outgoing boats that meet the high-risk criteria are often decontaminated at the access to minimize the risk of infecting other lakes.

The decontamination unit is operated primarily on weekends when watercraft activity at the lake is highest. The decontamination unit utilizes hot water to kill zebra mussels that may be present on or within watercraft. Treated areas may include the exterior of the watercraft, live wells, bilge areas, ballast tanks and motors. Application of the water can be performed in either a low pressure or high pressure manner.

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John Gunyou
Three Rivers Parks Board Chair