WILLMAR — Coming into Memorial Day weekend, Detective Nick Ardoff of the Kandiyohi County Sheriff's Office would like to remind boaters to guard against spreading invasive species and to safely navigate on the county's waterways.
"Obviously, zebra mussels have established a strong foothold in our area lakes. However, they are not in all our lakes yet and it would be nice to see it remain that way," Ardoff wrote in an email, adding that starry stonewort is as close as Lake Koronis and poses a significant threat to the county's lakes.
Boaters are required to clean all visible aquatic plants, mud and debris off their boat and trailer before leaving a water access point, drain all water-related equipment and dispose of any unwanted bait. It is also illegal to transport prohibited invasive plants or animals that are dead or alive.
"As far as safe navigation goes, our area waters have had low levels the last few years and so far, this year does not appear to be different," Ardoff wrote. "There are numerous hazards that are not/cannot be marked on area lakes. It is difficult to get people to be mindful of the hazard markers that are on the lakes and abide by staying far enough away from them."
Ardoff stressed how important it is to follow rules and laws regarding water safety before heading out for some fun. The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources publishes a guide each year that outlines in plain language all the rules that are needed to boat safely in Minnesota. The guide can be found on the DNR website at dnr.state.mn.us and search documents for "Minnesota Boating Guide."
Parents should also make sure underage children are legal and safe to operate equipment before sending them out on the water.
Jet skis also have a unique set of rules that are different from boats which also can be found on the DNR website at and search documents for "personal watercraft laws."