WILLMAR— Despite a shortage of trained inspectors, Kandiyohi County was able to stop 230 violations of the state’s aquatic invasive species rules at boat launches of several county lakes this year. Any one of those violations, if the boats had reached the water, could have led to increased spread of aquatic invasive species, which are known to have a negative impact on the ecosystems of the lake.
“We did catch a good number of violations this year,” said Russ Hilbert, county AIS coordinator. Hilbert gave his annual report and work plan for 2022 to the Kandiyohi County Board of Commissioners during the Dec. 21 meeting.
Most of those violations were caught on boats coming to a lake.
“Most of it was water,” such as water left in a live well or in the bilge area of the boat, said Hilbert. That water, maybe from a different lake, could have been carrying small pieces of an invasive weed or zebra mussel larva. One hundred and eighty boats arrived with water, and there were also 56 watercraft arriving with plants and 112 arrived with the drain plug in.
Throughout the boating season, from May 19 to Sept. 15, the county deploys inspectors to the most popular lakes in Kandiyohi County, to catch violations and educate boaters on the importance of slowing the spread of AIS. All totaled, there were 4,452 inspector staffed hours and 9,107 inspections at 19 boat launches at 12 lakes in 2021.
Read the full article by the West Central Tribune.