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A broadly-supported measure that went into effect Monday will significantly enhance aquatic invasive species prevention and management in Minnesota.

The increase in the aquatic invasive species watercraft surcharge on the three-year watercraft registration is increasing from $5 to $10.60. This is the first increase in the AIS registration surcharges since 1993. Watercraft owners will pay the increased fee when registering new watercraft, or when the registrations on existing watercraft come up for renewal.

Reducing the spread of aquatic invasive species is a major focus for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources and its partners. The surcharge increase allows the DNR and its partners to manage existing AIS infestations, reduce the spread to new waterbodies and help prevent the introduction of new species.

The increased fee will provide an add $880,000 per year for the DNR’s invasive species program for fiscal years 2020-21. This will allow the DNR to reinstate local AIS management grants, respond to new discoveries and continue to conduct AIS inspections.

The AIS surcharge increase was part of the budget package put forward by Gov. Tim Walz and Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan. It was passed by the Minnesota Legislature as part of this year’s omnibus environment and natural resources bill.

“We’re grateful to the lake associations, boating groups and many others who supported this long-needed increase,” said Heidi Wolf, DNR invasive species unit supervisor. “They are a vital part of the important and effective work Minnesotans are doing to prevent the spread of and manage aquatic invasive species.”

The DNR reminds boaters and anglers to follow Minnesota laws to prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species:

  • Clean aquatic plants and animals from watercraft.
  • Drain all water by removing drain plugs and keep drain plugs out while transporting watercraft.
  • Dispose of unwanted bait in the trash.

Some invasive species are small and difficult to see at the access. To remove or kill them, take one or more of the following precautions before moving to another waterbody, especially after leaving infested waters:

  • Spray with high-pressure water.
  • Rinse with very hot water (120 degrees for at least two minutes or 140 degrees for at least 10 seconds).
  • Dry for at least five days.

Details about aquatic invasive species and how to prevent their spread are available at mndnr.gov/ais.

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