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Minn. DNR sets up zebra mussel decontaminations

ST. PAUL (AP) -- The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is launching a new weapon against the spread of the invasive zebra mussel in at least three lakes.

Minnesota Public Radio News reported Friday that DNR workers will use high-pressure washers to decontaminate boats with zebra mussels at Lake Minnetonka and Pelican Lake in Otter Tail County and Lake Mille Lacs, the state's second largest inland lake.

The high-pressure washers will be stationed at public access points.

Keri Hull, a DNR spokeswoman, said boats will be inspected this weekend, and only those with zebra mussels attached will be power washed with water up to 140 degrees.

"We'll do an inspection, go around their boat, check the spots where Zebra mussels like to hide, where plants and vegetation like to hide," Hull said. "If we do find any zebra mussels attached to the boat, that's when we'll go through the decontamination process with those power washers."

The high temperature will help "kill off the zebra mussels and any other invasive species," she said.

The DNR plans to buy more machines and will have a total of 20 by next summer. The devices will be moved around the state, to some of the 50 Minnesota water bodies known to be infested with zebra mussels.

This year, the DNR is spending almost $2 million on controlling invasive species, including $300,000 for the 20 decontamination units.