EAST GRAND FORKS, Minn. - Inspectors for the state's aquatic invasive species program are struggling to keep up with the spread of zebra mussels in Minnesota lakes this summer.
Minnesota Public Radio News reports Monday that the invasive species has invaded more than 60 lakes across the state. While Minnesota has about 3,000 public access points to lakes and rivers, the Department of Natural Resources has only 118 inspectors charged with patrolling for invasive species.
Agency officials say about 20 percent of boaters they check are in violation of laws aimed at preventing invasive species. That means boats where owners have failed to pull plugs, drained water or removed weeds.
"I've been really impressed with the level of cooperation I see from the public, especially the fishing community," said DNR invasive species inspector Karl Koenig, who works landings in west central Minnesota. "I think with the folks who are out tubing or waterskiing or using personal watercraft, they typically express less interest in learning about what they can do, which to me is kind of disappointing."
DNR Regional Supervisor Bruce Anspach says the agency has made progress in building awareness among boaters of preventing the spread of invasive species.
(Copyright 2012 by Minnesota Public Radio (MPR). All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. )