Watercraft inspection training set for Saturday
BEMIDJI – Nathan Olson wants people to realize there are easy ways to prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species.
To that end, the state Department of Natural Resources is offering a volunteer training session Saturday for area boaters on how to properly clean and inspect their boats after leaving public waters and prevent the transport of unwelcome stowaways such as zebra mussels.
"By law, people have to remove all aquatic plants from their trailers, from their boats, from their equipment," said Olson, the DNR’s northwest region watercraft inspections supervisor. "But you can’t have zebra mussels, either."
The training session will be held at 9 a.m. until noon Saturday at Northern Town Hall, 445 Town Hall Rd. NW.
Olson said there are three main components to properly clean a boat: clean, drain, dry.
"If you do those two things, you’re already going a long way to help prevent the spread," Olson said. "But an additional step is to at least try to dry your boat or your equipment five days before you go to another water body."
Sydney Corrigan, a member of the Friends of Lake Bemidji, said it’s important to keep local lakes free of invasive species.
"Right now, we basically don’t have any in Beltrami County," she said.
But they are just a day trip away. In January, zebra mussel larvae were discovered in Lake Winnibigoshish, just an hour’s drive down State Highway 2.
"I really hope that people understand there’s really simple things you can do to prevent the spread," he said. "And it really stems around that clean, drain, dry mentality."