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What to expect if AIS are found hitchhiking in your boat

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news Bemidji, 56619

Bemidji Minnesota P.O. Box 455 56619

BEMIDJI — Consider Beltrami County a castle under siege.

Outside its walls, rusty crayfish, Zebra mussels and Eurasion milfoil are waiting. And in many cases, they’re being brought inside the county by its own residents, and sometimes tourists, boaters and fishermen who have unknowingly brought the unwanted creatures and plants to Beltrami County waters.

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The state’s Department of Natural Resources has its own weapons, though, that affects the wallets of boaters and fishermen.

Last year, 121 DNR inspectors logged 81,000 hours looking for AIS in watercraft across the state, according to the agency’s website. Those efforts netted 998 citations and 1,550 written warnings.

Here’s what you can expect if AIS are found hitchhiking in your boat:

— Transporting aquatic plants: $100 fine or misdemeanor

— Transporting water in boats or other watercraft: $100 fine or misdemeanor

— Transporting zebra mussels or other AIS: $500 fine or misdemeanor

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