GOVERNMENT CENTER--The Board of Supervisors voted to amend the Illegal Transportation of Aquatic Plants and Invasive species resolution so people have to use decontamination sites if they are available at the lake.
This is a move that is part of a bigger strategy in Burnett County to stop the spread of the zebra mussel which first popped up in Big McKenzie lake in 2016. Now the county is worried about another invasive species, the New Zealand mudsnail.
We are trying to control the entrance of these boats into the lakes, said County Conservationist, Dave Ferris. Iam not so much worried about when they exit the boat. Ideally, we could get them to decontaminate before entering and upon exiting.
Ferris said the penalty for not decontaminating at a lake with a decontamination site will be a fine between $100 and $150, then repeat offenders could be fined up to $500.
Decontamination sites are currently at the three McKenzie Lakes, Lipsett and Fish Lake. Little Wood Lake will soon be getting a sign that has flashing lights.
Ferris explained the importance of decontaminating boats and all vessels that come in and out because these microorganisms, like the New Zealand mudsnail can live on a dry surface for up to ten days.
County Supervisor, Jeremy Gronski expressed his concern for the spread of invasive species. He said that his boat and newer ones take on and store an immense amount of water.
If these microorganisms can live seven to ten days outside of water, I can only imagine they can live weeks if in these boats that hold a lot of water, Gronski said.
He continued with explaining how most people take their boat from lake to lake and could be picking up any number of microorganisms and transporting them to different lakes throughout the county and state.
The Wisconsin DNR suggests draining all water from the boats motor, livewell, bilge, and transom.
The cost is about $500 to $800 for the sign, water, bleach and sprayer in total, Ferris said. Burnett County Lakes and Rivers Associations are currently the ones responsible for putting up the decontamination signs.
He added that they got a better response from people if they are allowed to decontaminate their boat themselves and were not particularly in favor of somebody else, like a county worker, doing it for them.
One of the County Supervisors had a question for Ferris about the language of the amended wording. Ferris assured him he had spoken with County counsel about the language several times and had gotten their approval.