MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The fight against invasive plants and animals just got easier.

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That’s good news because zebra mussels are becoming an increasingly bigger problem in Minnesota. They’re small and latch onto boats and weeds to hitch a ride into other bodies of water, which they then infest.

And boat inspections are crucial to stopping their spread.

Tom Landwehr with the Department of Natural Resources says boaters should always take five minutes to inspect their boats for invasive species whenever they’re getting off the water.

To help boaters inspect their watercraft, new cleaning stations will go up at 200 lakes and rivers that already infested.

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“We’re really putting the emphasis on…providing the facility so people can do the right thing,” Landwehr said.

There’s even a place to drop plants the trailer dragged ashore and a place to drain the boat. Moreover, the stations are out of the way.

“It’s the worst offense in Minnesota to be blocking somebody else’s access to the ramp, right?” said

The DNR says last year there was a 20 percent incompliance rate. But thanks to extra enforcement and education, the violation rate is just down to 10 percent this season.

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“At the end of the day, the best we will hope to be able to do is slow the spread,” Landwehr said.

Susan-Elizabeth Littlefield