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Expect to have your boat checked

Anglers and boaters can expect stepped-up patrols and citations for violating the state's aquatic invasive species (AIS) laws, according to Lt. Col. Rodmen Smith, Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Enforcement Division assistant director.

"We are setting the expectation of the angling and boating public that they will follow the laws to prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species, that they will be checked for AIS violations, and that they will cited if a violation is found," Smith said.

Minnesota law prohibits the possession or transport of any AIS in Minnesota. Conservation officers and peace officers may stop and inspect motorists pulling boats or other marine equipment upon a "reasonable belief" that AIS are present. AIS include zebra mussels, Eurasian watermilfoil and spiny waterfleas.

To help prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species, anglers and boaters are required by law to:

?Drain bait buckets, bilges and live wells before leaving any water access.

?Remove aquatic plants from boats and trailers to prevent the spread of invasive species.

?Pull the plug on their boat, and drain all water when leaving all waters of the state; drain plugs must remain out while transporting water-related equipment on roadways.

Smith said check stations will also be conducted this summer near public waters, public water accesses, resorts and private water access landings where the transpiration/trailering of watercraft or water-related equipment occur.

"To be compliant with the law, a boater must simply pull the plug, drain the water, and remove any weeds from the boat and trailer," said Smith.

Smith said that stopping the spread of AIS is a DNR priority. "Anglers and boaters can expect to be checked and cited by a conservation officer if found in violation of AIS laws."

Citations range from $50 to $1,000.