LETTER TO THE EDITOR: How about a public hearing on invasive species?
A question has been thrown out there on how we can provide access in such a way that it prevents the spread of aquatic invasive species? The answer is nobody can prevent the spread of invasive species, period.
I will list a few reasons off the top of my head:
- Not every access is public, and these illegal inspections cannot be done everywhere 24-7.
- Inspectors cannot look inside compartments without owner's permission and even if granted there is no guarantee microscopic organisms can be detected.
- Every boat, motor and trailer have areas that cannot be observed without a complicated, time-consuming disassembling, and a simulated winterization effort.
This would need to occur every trip to the lake, which will never happen. Decontamination cannot get to every part of every boat, motor and trailer. Trailers have hollow tube framework and wiring holes going to the tail lights. Motors have water reservoirs and cannot be drained completely no matter how many times you raise and lower it.
The same can be said about water reservoirs located inside boats with bilge, bait and live well pumps. It is impossible to clean, drain and dry every part of a boat, motor and trailer to keep invasive species out of a lake.
Boat docks and lifts are more of a vulnerability. These structures can harbor zebra mussels and movement of them could contribute to introduction or relocation of this invasive species to non-infested or infested lakes and rivers.
We do the best we can, but it will never eliminate the chance 100 percent. I wonder how the DNR is going to clean, drain, and dry every pelican, trumpeter swan, Canada goose, bald eagle, great blue heron, kingfisher, osprey, river otter, beaver ... and the list could go on and on.
Inspections at accesses are not the answer; common sense solutions are. I have asked a Beltrami County Commissioner to organize a public hearing this spring to get a handle on what kind of support there is for mandatory inspections. I think the public should know what has been spent on this program so far and what kind of results have come with that effort. Also, what is planned for in the future. I would ask interested folks who want clean and a healthy environment that can be obtained without government over regulations to show up. It may be your last chance to make a difference.