Smith: Too many don't obey laws vs. invasives

  • Article by: DOUG SMITH , Star Tribune
  • Updated: August 28, 2012 - 8:43 PM

Despite an accelerated effort this summer to fight the spread of aquatic invasive species in Minnesota lakes -- including stiffer fines, more boat inspections and widespread publicity -- many boaters continue to violate the law.

So far this summer, about 16 percent of the 12,000 boaters checked by Department of Natural Resources conservation officers have been cited for not passing inspections.

That's a slight improvement from mid-June, when noncompliance was about 20 percent -- a figure officials then called unacceptable.

But the violation rate at DNR random roadside check stations, begun midsummer, is more than 35 percent, said Phil Meier, DNR enforcement division operations manager.

"We don't really have an understanding of why there's that big of a difference," he said. Noncompliance at some stops has exceeded 50 percent, he said.

"Obviously 1 percent is too high," Meier said.

So far, the DNR has issued 1,977 citations and warnings, more than double the 850 issued all of last year.

"We're going to keep doing what we can do to stop the spread," Meier said. "Hopefully our actions are making a difference."

But critics of the state's efforts say the noncompliance figures -- and the continued spread of species such as zebra mussels to ever more lakes -- show that it's too little, too late.

In 2009, there were 16 lakes and four rivers infested with zebra mussels. Today, those numbers are up to 29 lakes and nine rivers, including Gilbert Pit, a mine pit lake on the Iron Range that officials announced Tuesday was infested.

"That tells me their program isn't working," said Terry Kalil, vice president of the Becker County Coalition of Lake Associations.

"Yeah, I'm frustrated," she said. "This is an epidemic."

Kalil said the DNR's 23 decontamination units -- which use high-pressure, hot-water washers -- have cleaned only 774 boats thus far. "That's just 33 per unit, over a 60-day period -- one boat every other day," she said.

But, said Jim Japs of the DNR, "Low numbers are good because that shows a high level of compliance." Only boats with invasive species on them are being decontaminated, he said.

Meanwhile, Kalil said some have wrongly pitted anglers against lakeshore owners.

"It's Minnesota's problem, and we need to fix it," she said.

Doug Smith •

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

Click here to send us your hunting or fishing photos – and to see what others are showing off from around the region.


Baltimore 2 FINAL
Detroit 15
NY Yankees 5 FINAL
Philadelphia 5
Northeastern 1 FINAL
Boston 2
Miami-Fla 1 FINAL
Miami 7
Pittsburgh 8 FINAL
Toronto 7
San Francisco 4 FINAL
Oakland 9
Cleveland 0 FINAL
Cincinnati 10
Boston College 0 FINAL
Boston 1
Arizona State 0 FINAL
Arizona 4
Boston 34 2nd Qtr 3:01
Cleveland 53
LA Lakers 42 2nd Qtr 3:35
Charlotte 40
Sacramento 44 2nd Qtr 8:45
New York 27
Houston 23 1st Qtr 4:37
Atlanta 17
Utah 7:00 PM
Washington 7:00 PM
Milwaukee 8:00 PM
Nashville 0 2nd Prd
New Jersey 1
Calgary 1 2nd Prd
Philadelphia 0
Washington 2 2nd Prd
Columbus 0
Buffalo 0 1st Prd 12:17
Tampa Bay 0
Toronto 0 1st Prd 11:03
Florida 0
Ottawa 7:00 PM
NY Islanders 7:30 PM
Anaheim 8:00 PM
Los Angeles 8:30 PM
San Jose 9:00 PM
Ole Miss 27 2nd Half
Alabama 30
Eastern Mich 35 2nd Half
Ball State 24
Kent State 41 2nd Half
Bowling Green 36
Ohio 29 2nd Half
Buffalo 41
Georgetown 30 2nd Half
Butler 24
Toledo 37 2nd Half
Central Mich 36
Rhode Island 28 2nd Half
Dayton 36
Youngstown St 37 2nd Half
Detroit 31
North Carolina 39 2nd Half
Georgia Tech 21
Loyola-Maryland 20 2nd Half
Holy Cross 32
Iowa 30 1st Half 1:00
Indiana 26
Akron 23 2nd Half
Miami-Ohio 17
Army 26 2nd Half
Navy 24
Maryland 31 2nd Half
Rutgers 23
Kennesaw St 17 1st Half 0:30
USC Upstate 42
Jacksonville 34 2nd Half
Fla Gulf Coast 38
Lipscomb 37 2nd Half
Northern Ky 38
Stetson 14 1st Half 10:33
North Florida 23
Wright State 7:00 PM
Western Mich 7:00 PM
Northern Ill
Nebraska Omaha 7:00 PM
North Dakota
Houston Baptist 7:00 PM
Abilene Christian
NC State 8:00 PM
Texas A&M 8:00 PM
Kentucky 8:00 PM
West Virginia 8:00 PM
Auburn 8:00 PM
Michigan 8:00 PM
Villanova 8:15 PM
Longwood 55 FINAL
Gardner-Webb 63
Charleston Southern 39 FINAL
Presbyterian 47
Coastal Carolina 54 FINAL
UNC-Asheville 68
NJIT 23 2nd Half
UMass Lowell 34
West Virginia 7:00 PM
Kansas State
TCU 7:00 PM
Fresno State 8:00 PM
Air Force
San Jose St 8:00 PM
Boise State
Nevada 8:00 PM
Colorado State
UNLV 8:00 PM
San Diego State
Wyoming 8:00 PM
Utah State
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters





question of the day

Poll: Should the lake where the albino muskie was caught remain a mystery?

Weekly Question