Minnesota considers invasive-species training for boaters

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Minnesota's 800,000 boat owners would have to pass a course on how to prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species before they could trailer their boats anywhere under a bill proposed by the state’s Department of Natural Resources.

“We're envisioning it would be an online training course,” Luke Skinner, DNR invasive species specialist, told the Star Tribune newspaper. “This would be required training so boaters know the laws and what they need to do to prevent the spread of invasive species.'”

Those hauling other water-related equipment, such as docks or boat lifts, also would have to pass the course.

Also, fines for those caught violating invasive species laws would be doubled — all part of increased efforts by the DNR to slow the spread of invading critters to Minnesota's waters. Some measures will be implemented this season, including random roadside boat checks and a requirement that boat owners place free DNR stickers on their boats spelling out invasive species requirements.

But the training requirement wouldn't kick in until 2015 under the proposed bill.

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