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Putting the heat on invasive species: Lake property owners association committed to purchasing $16,000 power washer

Maureen Ziskovsky operates a power washer in August 2011 during a demonstration of the unit at Green Lake. The Green Lake Property Owners Association is committed to purchasing a power washer unit to decontaminate watercraft using waters in the county, if a way can be found to provide trained staff to operate it. Tribune file photo by Ron Adams

SPICER — Kandiyohi County is on the verge of putting the heat on Aquatic Invasive Species to stop their spread and possible arrival here.

The Green Lake Property Owners Association is committed to purchasing a $16,000 power washer unit that could be used to decontaminate watercraft, if something can be arranged to provide the trained workers needed to operate it through the summer.

“We want to do everything we can to protect the lakes of Kandiyohi County,’’ said Terry Frazee, a member of the GLPOA.

The association is now working with local legislators, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, and local government units to find funding to staff the washer. Due to liability issues, only trained workers can operate the machine. It uses a high pressure stream of hot water to decontaminate watercraft.

The power washer could be used on watercraft leaving Green Lake, to prevent Eurasian milfoil that is found in the lake from being transported elsewhere.

Equally important, watercraft arriving from lakes that are infested with other aquatic invasive species- zebra mussels in particular- could be decontaminated prior to launching in local waters.

Zebra mussels are now as close as lakes in Pope, Stearns and Douglas counties.

Frazee said the lake association wants to offer the use of the power washer at no cost to anyone transporting watercraft. It would also like to make it available for as many hours as possible. The goal is to see it operating from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m., seven days a week.

The City of Spicer has offered to serve as the local unit of government to help host the machine. Representative Mary Sawatzky, DFL- Willmar, and Senator Lyle Koenen, DFL- Clara City, have indicated they will work for funding through the state.

Frazee said Association President Jamie Duininck and board member Ron Schneider have been working very hard to make the unit possible.

They are committed to protecting all of the waters in the county. The unit would be based at Green Lake, which sees the highest traffic volumes of all types of watercraft.

Tom Cherveny

Tom Cherveny is a regional and outdoor reporter with the West Central Tribune in Willmar, MN.

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