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At a forum last Wednesday in St. Paul, Larry Meddock, executive director of the Water Sports Industry Association, said one company revealed a new filter product two weeks ago that’s been tested and approved by California and Nevada natural resource officials. It’s not on the market yet, Meddock said. It keeps microscopic zebra mussel larvae and other troublesome species out of ballast tanks — specifically for wakeboard boats that carry hundreds of gallons of extra water to create huge wakes.
Gabriel Jabbour, owner of Tonka Bay Marina, said filters or design changes on many types of boats — especially pontoons — are critical but don’t need to be complicated. “This does not need to change the costs of boats drastically,” he said. “We’re talking minor, but important and profound changes, to protect our lakes.”
It only takes one infested boat to contaminate a lake, said Deb Pilger, director of environmental management for the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board. Twice last summer, inspectors stopped boats at Lake Harriet that contained zebra mussels on weeds and were ready to launch.
Zebra mussels are confirmed in Lake Hiawatha and Minnehaha Creek, she said, but not in the city’s other lakes.
Pilger presented a 10-point plan Wednesday that a park board committee endorsed. It fine-tunes this year’s inspection schedule for boat launches at Harriet, Calhoun and Nokomis lakes in Minneapolis, where more than 8,800 inspections occurred last year.
“Inspectors are out there, but it’s really an education program,” she said. “People need to understand that everyone has a role in protecting these waters, and that no one can do it alone.”
Tom Meersman • 612-673-7388