Shorewood mandates all boat inspections

  • Updated: June 12, 2012 - 10:17 PM

The City Council unanimously passed an ordinance making it a misdemeanor to launch without inspection.

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Erik Noonan, a St. Thomas University student whose family lives on Christmas Lake, is an aquatic invasive species inspector, who works for Volt Workforce Solutions.

Photo: David Joles, Star Tribune

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Shorewood has become Minnesota's first city to require that all boats be inspected before entering a lake.

It's part of the Minnetonka-area community's growing efforts to prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species into Christmas Lake, its only one with a public boat access. Starting June 21, boaters could be cited with a misdemeanor and fined up to $1,000 if they launch into the lake without an inspection.

The City Council passed the ordinance 5-0 Monday night.

"This is what we in Shorewood and in Minnesota need to do," Mayor Chris Lizee said, adding that she hopes other cities will follow suit.

Statewide, law enforcement and conservation officers with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources already can ticket or cite boaters who decline inspections. Violators pay a $100 fine and $75 in court costs. But the state law doesn't require boats to be inspected before launching unless an inspector is at the boat access.

Shorewood's ordinance takes the state law a step further, banning boaters from using the lake without an inspection no matter what. Christmas Lake doesn't have evidence of zebra mussels, but it's next to infested Lake Minnetonka.

The Christmas Lake Homeowners Association, which pushed the city to enact the ordinance, has paid $36,000 of the $46,000 cost of hiring private inspectors to guard the boat launch nearly all day, every day.

City leaders acknowledge that they won't be able to control private boat launches or be able to tell if boaters enter the public access without an inspection unless an inspector is there; so far, no one's declined an inspection since they started last month. But Lizee said the ordinance is still needed.

"It's to put it on the books that it's illegal," she said. "We're serious about this [and it] catches people's attention."

KELLY SMITH

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