MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The chilly weather and rain isn’t stopping Minneapolis from opening up boat launches on Thursday, as scheduled. City park employees are on standby to help boaters and inspect for invasive species.

At Lake Harriet, the water is a chilly 40 degrees. Still, city employees will be at the boat launch all day and will continue to be staffed until Labor Day.

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They’re helping check for invasive species not native to Minnesota to ensure the local lake system stays healthy.

Staff will be available from 6 a.m.-10 p.m. all summer long, seven days a week.

It’s an important effort because invasive species could attack the ecosystem, or contribute to fish kills and they’re bad, and potentially dangerous, for swimmers.

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All boats, even rented equipment like kayaks or canoes, are inspected.

“That’s how the aquatic, invasive species are moving around, through water-related equipment,” said Deb Pilger, of the Minneapolis Park and Rec Board. “It’s not common that people come in and move that material but we’re here to help teach them how to prevent that movement.”

There are several species that they’re keeping an eye out for but the big one is zebra mussels.

There were two instances where zebra mussels were found last summer. Though it’s not very common, if it makes its way into the water, it could be years until it’s fully removed.

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So far, only Minneapolis has opened its boat launches for the season. To find out when boat launches near you open,