Local boat landings to receive cleaning stations

By Brenda Erdahl

Five local boat landings will receive waterless cleaning stations to help with prevention of Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) on area lakes in the coming months.

On Tuesday, June 1, the Wright County Board agreed to take ownership of waterless cleaning stations to be put in place later this summer or fall on the Sugar Lake south access, the West Lake Sylvia access the DNR owned access on Cedar Lake and at both accesses on Pleasant Lake – the Annandale City access and County access.

Wright County already owns one cleaning station located at Schroder Park on Cedar Lake. The cleaning station is very well used, according to Alicia O’Hare, Water Resource Specialist with the Wright Soil and Water Conservation District. The station has already had 50 sessions of use this spring and last year it had 500 tool uses.

O’Hare called those numbers “very encouraging” and “great to see.”

Although not a decontamination station like the one at 1300 Business Blvd. in Annandale, these cleaning stations are still very helpful in controlling AIS, she said. They come equipped with the tools to clean and scrape boats and they are free to use.

Funding for the units and maintenance will come from several sources including the AIS Local Aid Fund (via Wright SWCD), Cedar Lake Conservation Club, Sugar Lake Association and potentially a grant from the LCCMR. According to O’Hare approval of the LCCMR grant is expected to go through at the State level in the near future.

Unlike the Schroder Park cleaning station, which is on a trailer and mobile, these new stations will be permanent fixtures at the landings and powered by solar panels, she said. Additionally, the units have telemetry that tracks the time and tool type (no personal data is requested or tracked). For those landings that are not on County property the County is prepared to enter into a no-cost lease agreement. The Cedar West, Sugar South and West Sylvia are all DNR owned. The City of Annandale owns the Pleasant South landing and the County owns the Pleasant North landing, according to O’Hare.

The SWCD will coordinate the maintenance of the units which will include winterization. According to O’Hare, winterizing the units will be fairy simple, involving only emptying the tanks and covering it up.

Wright County Parks and Recreation Director Marc Mattice was all for the project stating the unit at Schroeder Park is well used and the County’s partnership with the Cedar Lake Improvement Association has been a good one.

Commissioner Christine Husom added that the presence of the unit is increasing boaters’ awareness and need for diligence when it comes to cleaning their equipment to prevent the spread of AIS. She added that decontamination at the Annandale site is still highly recommended.

To follow Minnesota laws to prevent the spread of AIS, boaters are reminded to clean aquatic plants and animals from their watercraft, drain all water by removing drain plugs, keep drain plugs out while transporting watercraft, and dispose of unwanted bait in the trash.