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Forum News Service, Published March 28 2014

One in five Minnesota boaters broke invasive species law

ST. PAUL - The number of Minnesota boaters who violated state regulations on transporting invasive species dropped in 2013 compared to 2012, but one in five boaters who were checked still violated state law.

That was the report Friday from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, which is gearing up for another season of checking boaters as they trailer their craft overland.

The goal is to get people to stop inadvertently allowing aquatic invasive species such as zebra mussels, spiny water fleas and Eurasian water milfoil from infested lakes and rivers to reach uninfested waters.

The 20 percent violation rate is down from 31 percent, nearly one in three boaters, checked and issued citations by conservation officers in 2012.

State law prohibits transporting any invasive species and requires anglers to make sure they fully drain their boat of water before trailering a watercraft; not transport bait water between lakes; and not allow weeds to hang on their trailers. The rules require boaters to remove the bilge plug from their boat on every overland trip.