A few moments can make a difference [UPDATED]Published 4:20am Tuesday, May 28, 2013 Updated 6:21am Tuesday, May 28, 2013
With the official start of summer upon us, it is a good time to remind residents and visitors alike to help prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species, which could eventually impact the economic and environmental health of the lakes we cherish in Otter Tail County.
We ask every one to be vigilant in this effort.
With the mussels already taking up residence in a few county lakes (visit the Department of Natural Resources website for a list of infested waters, www.dnr.state.mn.us) the writing may already be on the wall.
However, there is still much we can — and should do — to prevent these invasives from completely taking over our beautiful lakes. There are laws which require anyone pulling a boat from a lake to:
• Clean all visible aquatic plants, zebra mussels, and other prohibited invasive species from watercraft, trailers, and water-related equipment before leaving any water access or shoreland.
• Drain water-related equipment (boat, ballast tanks, portable bait containers, motor) and drain bilge, livewell and baitwell by removing drain plugs before leaving a water access or shoreline property. Keep drain plugs out and water-draining devices open while transporting watercraft.
• Dispose of unwanted bait, including minnows, leeches, and worms, in the trash. It is illegal to release live bait into a waterbody or release aquatic animals from one waterbody to another.
Please take a few moments to ensure you have no invasive hitchhikers.