Kandiyohi County OKs contract for AIS decontamination site
WILLMAR -- A pilot project to operate a county-sponsored decontamination site will continue this year in Kandiyohi County's ongoing battle to prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species. The County Board of Commissioners approved a new one-yea...
WILLMAR - A pilot project to operate a county-sponsored decontamination site will continue this year in Kandiyohi County's ongoing battle to prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species.
The County Board of Commissioners approved a new one-year contract Tuesday with 4 Seasons Lawn and Beach Services of Spicer to provide the free service again this summer.
County officials said they hope the public will take advantage of it.
Traffic last year wasn't as high as expected, but it was a pilot year and it takes time for word to spread, said Larry Kleindl, county administrator.
"We hope the more people get used to it, it will be used even more," he said.
"It was a year of getting the message out," agreed Roger Imdieke, chairman of the County Board.
The decontamination site at 4 Seasons will be open from April 19 to Aug. 31. The contract is for $45,000, with funds coming directly from Kandiyohi County's allocation from the state's aquatic invasive species prevention program.
Establishing a permanent site where watercraft can be decontaminated after leaving the lake has been one of the priorities of the Kandiyohi County aquatic invasive species task force. Zebra mussels were confirmed in Green Lake in 2015. Last summer the mussels also were found in Lake Florida.
The presence of starry stonewort in Lake Koronis near Paynesville has raised additional worries that the highly invasive plant species could make its way into Kandiyohi County, Imdieke said.
It's hoped that the decontamination site at 4 Seasons will provide more convenience for boat owners and encourage more boaters and anglers to use the service. It's available seven days a week from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and other hours by appointment.
The city of Spicer also operates a mobile decontamination unit and the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources deploys a mobile unit in Kandiyohi County as well.
In further preparation for this year's lake season, the County Board approved an aquatic invasive species delegation agreement with the DNR that allows the county to hire trained inspectors and operate decontamination units. The new agreement is for three years.