The Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board has issued the following item:
MINNEAPOLIS PARK & RECREATION BOARD INCREASES PUBLIC BOAT LAUNCH INSPECTIONS BEGINNING JULY 13, 2012
The Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board’s (MPRB) http://www.minneapolisparks.org/home.asp increased efforts to slow the spread of aquatic invasive species (AIS) http://www.minneapolisparks.org/default.asp?PageID=1383 in Minneapolis’ celebrated lakes kicks off on Friday, July 13.
On that date, inspections will be required for any boats or water-related equipment launching from the public boat launches on Lake Calhoun, Lake Harriet and Lake Nokomis. Sailboats moored on the lakes, or canoes and kayaks entering the water from storage racks or other access points are not affected, and watercraft may exit the lakes through the public boat launch at any time without penalty.
Launches will be open and inspectors on duty at each boat launch during the times of the day and days of the week that people are most likely to launch boats. These hours are:
•Monday through Thursday: 6 to 10 a.m. and 5 to 9 p.m.
•Friday, Saturday and Sunday: 6 a.m. to 9 p.m.
“These steps are in line with what the Park Board has done – and will continue to do – to protect our cities’ natural resources,” said John Erwin, MPRB president. “Whether we’re talking about Eurasian water milfoil and Asian carp or buckthorn and emerald ash borer, we will do what we have to, to ensure that that our park system will be around for future generations to enjoy.”
While the lakes are already affected by some AIS, including Eurasian water milfoil, there are still many species, with far worse impacts, that can be prevented from entering and harming the lakes.
Minneapolis Park Board and Invasive Species
In 2012, the MPRB will spend nearly $3 million on initiatives to prevent or manage invasive species. The Park Board’s efforts include the placement of Emerald ash borer traps, treating, removing and replacing trees infected with Dutch elm disease and harvesting and removing Eurasian water milfoil from the swimming and recreation areas in six lakes. Additionally, thousands of volunteer hours are spent to hand remove buckthorn, mustard garlic and purple loosestrife. The Board of Commissioners also restricted lock use on the Mississippi River to its river boat cruise vendor to slow the spread of Asian carp.
Erwin noted that the measures approved by the Board at their June 20 meeting are for the 2012 season only. Over the next six months, Park Board staff will seek input from the public, including representatives from nearby neighborhoods and the boating, fishing and sailing communities, the DNR and other interested groups to help draft a final policy for 2013 and beyond. In mid-August, an online feedback survey will be available through the Park Board’s website. Additionally, a public comment line is available at 612-313-7782. Anyone interested in participating in public meetings regarding the AIS prevention policy can sign up for updates at http://www.minneapolisparks.org/default.asp?PageID=1383
Inspectors from the MPRB and the Minnesota DNR have been inspecting boats and educating boaters on AIS prevention measures at its public boat launches since early May.
Boaters entering the water through the public boat launch on Calhoun, Harriet and Nokomis during non-staffed hours may be cited and fined by Minneapolis Park Police.
Under Minnesota law, it is illegal to transport invasive aquatic plants and animals, as well as water, from water bodies infested with aquatic invasives. Violators could face fines up to $1,000.
The inspection hours will run through September 30, 2012.