County launches cleaning stations to prevent aquatic invasive species

Zebra mussels

On Monday, Hennepin County unveiled a new solar-powered watercraft cleaning station, which it will use to help prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species.

The station, located at the Spring Park public boat access on Lake Minnetonka, is one in a pilot project of five. They were created in partnership with Wildlife Forever, CD3, Initiative Foundation, National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and Three Rivers Park District.

The other stations are located at North Arm on Lake Minnetonka, Bryant Lake and Riley Lake in Eden Prairie and Pike Lake in Saint Louis County, according to a release.

Boaters can now use the cleaning stations to learn the best management practices of cleaning, draining, drying and disposing of bait. The stations include compressed air, a wet/dry vacuum, marine lights and a series of low-tech, cable-tethered tools.

The stations will also provide boaters with 24/7 education and tools at a cost similar to staffing an access with an inspector for limited hours.