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While those measures are valuable, Jabbour said, the next step needs to include boat builders.
At Tonka Bay Marina on Lake Minnetonka, he pointed to water that shoots out of motors that could be self-draining, as well as the crevices of a fishing boat that he said could be welded together.
“The boats coming in better be easier to deal with,” he said.
The state DNR agrees and sent a letter to the national task force to support looking at boat designs. The DNR’s Ann Pierce said they’ll also be studying this summer the risk that residual water poses and how it can be minimized.
Boat industry changes
Menne, who’s on the board of the National Marine Manufacturers Association, said he will bring up the issue at a Washington meeting Monday.
“It’s a high priority in Minnesota,” he said. “If [boat manufacturers] want to sell their products in Minnesota, they are going to have to make some changes.”
Leaders of Menne’s group and the Water Sports Industry Association say they prefer looking into voluntary design standards that companies can phase in over time instead of new government regulations.
“It serves our best interest for boaters to have a boat design that makes it easy to follow the [decontamination rules],” said David Dickerson of the marine association. “We want to make it simple for the boaters.”
Technology is also helping.
One product that’s being tested on wakeboard boats, which collect extra water to create huge wakes, filters water to keep microscopic zebra mussel larvae and other invasives out.
But that’s just one solution to one type of boat. Industry experts say it will take bringing the entire industry, government groups and environmentalists together to address such a widespread problem.
“This is a national issue and frankly, it’s an international issue,” said Michael Hoff, the Fish and Wildlife Service’s Midwest aquatic invasive species program coordinator. “Every corner of every state is potentially impacted by better boat standards.”
Kelly Smith • 612-673-4141
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