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Tribune Editorial: Fight against invasive species critical for all

Local, county and state officials are working to educate all residents on the best defense against zebra mussels.

The primary keys are self-responsibility and education of all citizens -- whether one is a boat user, angler or not.

One such effort was a boat cleaning demonstration Thursday as part of the first 2011 Green Lake fishing contest Friday and today.

These joint efforts were sponsored by the Green Lake Property Owners Association, Kandiyohi County, the city of Spicer, the Middle Fork Crow River Watershed District and the Little Crow Anglers Club. They were assisted by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

The project encouraged fishing contest anglers to clean off their boats, which would then gain them entry to a $200 raffle.

This was a positive step toward education and self-responsibility for boaters and local residents.

It would take only one boater or lake user on a zebra mussel-infested lake to be careless and knowingly or unknowingly transfer this invasive species to a uninfested lake, like Green Lake.

If a boater, angler or citizen transfers a watercraft without removing all vegetation and without draining all water from the craft and/or buckets, they are in violation of new state law. It is also a violation to transport water in any containers.

The civil penalty for such a violation can range from $50 to $250 and a criminal penalty can result in a fine of more than $1,000.

The best preventative actions for boat owners are simply as follows:

- Clean your boat;

- Drain your boat;

- Dry your boat.

The quality of local lakes as well as lake property values are all dependent upon keeping all of our local lakes clear of all invasive species, such as zebra mussels.