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DNR offers aquatic invasive species training to businesses

Those who are employed in the lake service provider industry must complete a short online course about aquatic invasive species. The requirement was recently expanded to include certain types of resorts and outfitters. (Contributed)

Eventually, the ice will melt and businesses that put out docks, lifts and boats will be busy.

But they have to be trained first to spot and report aquatic invasive species, such as zebra mussels.

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is offering aquatic invasive species (AIS) training to owners of lake service provider businesses so they can legally work in lakes and rivers throughout the state.

In Alexandria, the training will take place at Douglas County Public Works, 526 Willow Drive, Room 129A, on April 8 from 1 to 4 p.m.

Businesses such as resorts and outfitters that rent, lease or decontaminate boats and other water-related equipment are now required to attend AIS training and acquire a permit under a state law change that took effect last July.

These businesses are considered lake service providers, which means that every three years they must attend a training session, apply for a permit, and pay a $50 application fee to comply with Minnesota law.

“Before this change, the law applied only to businesses such as marinas, dock haulers, lawn irrigators and others who install or remove equipment from state waters for hire,” said April Rust, DNR AIS training coordinator. “The law change means many more businesses will need to attend training to learn about the threat of zebra mussels and other invasive species, and how to prevent their spread.”

Employees of lake service provider businesses – which now include boat rental businesses – also need to complete a short online training course before providing services.

However, employees of businesses, such as some resorts, who only work with boats, equipment or structures that remain on their property in the same body of water are exempt from the employee training and certification.

Seventeen AIS training sessions are planned around the state.

Registering for the winter and early spring sessions will give businesses time to attend training and get a permit before ice-out. Registration deadlines are one week prior to each training.

To register for training, find out if the business needs a permit, or for more information, visit the DNR website at

A list of all 2014 training sessions and locations is available at

Al Edenloff
Al Edenloff is the news and opinion page editor for the Echo Press. He was born in Alexandria and lived most of his childhood in Parkers Prairie. He graduated with honors from Moorhead State University with a degree in mass communications, print journalism. He interned at the Echo Press in the summer of 1983 and was hired a year later as a sports reporter. He also worked as a news reporter/photographer. Al is a four-time winner of the Minnesota Newspaper Association's Herman Roe Award, which honors excellence in editorial writing.  
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