News release: Clean, Drain, Dispose every time to prevent aquatic invasive species spread

July 1, 2024

The upcoming Independence Day holiday brings busier lake accesses and people hurrying to family gatherings and celebrations. It is important for all lake and river users to take a few minutes to Clean, Drain, Dispose — every time — to prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species.

“Nearly all boaters and anglers understand and follow Minnesota’s Clean, Drain, Dispose laws,” said Kelly Pennington, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources invasive species unit supervisor. “People can prevent the spread of invasive species like zebra mussels, starry stonewort and Eurasian watermilfoil by always cleaning and draining watercraft and equipment and disposing of unwanted bait in the trash.”

Conservation officers and DNR-trained watercraft inspectors are at many public accesses to help ensure boaters and anglers are making sure their boats and equipment are “clean in, clean out.”

Some of the state’s waterways – rivers, in particular – have extremely high water as a result of recent rainfall. Boaters, paddlers and others should stay off them until the water recedes.

Whether or not a lake has any invasive species, Minnesota law requires people to:

  • Clean watercraft, trailers and gear to remove aquatic plants and prohibited invasive species.
  • Drain all water and leave drain plugs out during transport.
  • Dispose of unwanted bait in the trash.
  • Never release bait, plants or aquarium pets into Minnesota waters.
  • Dry docks, lifts and rafts for 21 days before moving them from one water body to another.

These additional steps reduce the risk of spreading aquatic invasive species:

  • Decontaminate watercraft, trailers and gear – find free stations on the courtesy decontamination webpage of the DNR website.
  • Spray watercraft, trailers and gear with high-pressure water or rinse with very hot water (120 degrees for at least two minutes or 140 degrees for at least 10 seconds).
  • Dry watercraft, trailers and gear for at least five days before using in another water body. 

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