Class in session for AIS violators

‘Clean In Clean Out’ training will be mandatory

for anyone caught breaking state’s aquatic invasive species laws

MARSHALL – Note to anyone who violates Minnesota’s aquatic invasive species laws this year: Not only will you pay a fine if you’re caught, you’ll need some training.

Starting this boating season, anyone found guilty of such a violation will not only have to pay the required fine, but will also have to complete mandatory training the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources calls “Clean In Clean Out.” This training must be completed before anyone found guilty of violating Minnesota’s aquatic invasive species laws can legally operate their watercraft anywhere in the state.

“The class is free and easy to take, either online or with a paper home-study,” April Rust, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources invasive species training coordinator, said. “Anyone interested in learning more about how to protect Minnesota waters from invasive species can also take the free online class.”

The DNR said the compliance rate on roadside checks in 2012 was 63 percent; a year ago it was up to 86 percent.

While the rate of compliance with AIS laws is getting better, the DNR says it’s those few individuals who continue to violate the state’s laws who are the highest risk factor for infesting a lake or river. And it only takes a few of them. The DNR’s ultimate goal is to keep the 95 percent of Minnesota’s lakes that are considered clean off the infested waters list.

The “Clean In Clean Out” training is available at www.mndnr.gov/CICOtraining.

“It’s like a DWI – if you get a DWI, you have to go back and take remedial classes,” Rust said. “Of course, that’s not the whole picture, but that’s one piece of it. We want to make sure those who violate the law are aware of what the laws are.”

The fines for an AIS violation in Minnesota vary. The base fine starts at $25 and can reach up to $100 or even $500.

The “Clean In Clean Out” program is part of leftover legislation from the 2015 session. It was part of a broader environmental legislation package that was not repealed.

The DNR said boaters and anglers can comply with Minnesota’s invasive species laws by remembering Clean, Drain, Dispose:

Clean aquatic plants and prohibited invasive species from watercraft,

Drain lake or river water from all equipment and keep drain plugs out during transport, and

Dispose of unwanted bait in the trash, not in the water.

Lake property owners are reminded that docks and lifts must be cleaned and allowed to dry for at least 21 days before moving them to another body of water.