Think Zero boat inspections

Carver County and DNR officials conduct boat inspections designed to prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species.

Carver County boat inspectors have prevented zebra mussels from entering area lakes this summer and no new infestations have been reported, according to a mid-summer update.

Carver County conducted more than 15,000 watercraft inspections as of mid-July, according to an update from Andrew Dickhart, aquatic invasive species coordinator. Of those, 6,000 have been conducted on Lake Waconia, 3,000 on Lake Minnewashta and 2,200 on Lotus Lake.

There have been five cases of zebra mussels being discovered this summer on incoming watercraft at public access sites in the county. Those have been discovered at Lotus Lake, Lake Pierson’s and Lake Parley. The county conducts inspections at 12 lakes.

The county employs about 30 boat inspectors and will be looking to add staff when students return to school next month. Dickhart said the inspections will continue through September and potentially beyond.

BACKGROUND

This is the sixth year the county has been involved with aquatic invasive species prevention efforts.

Carver County and the city of Chanhassen were two of the first local governments around the state to implement boat inspections at public access sites in 2012 in an effort to prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species. The county oversaw the city of Chanhassen inspections beginning last year.

In 2014, zebra mussels were confirmed in Christmas Lake – on the border of Chanhassen and Shorewood – and Lake Waconia, the largest lake in Carver County. They were also confirmed in Lake Virginia, which connects to Lake Minnetonka near Victoria, in 2014. Lake Minnetonka and Prior Lake are also among the hundreds of water bodies around the state with confirmed zebra mussel infestations.

— Richard Crawford

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