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New law: Those hired to remove docks, lifts must have state permit

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Another tactic to stop the spread of zebra mussels will take place throughout the state this winter - training sessions for those who are hired to install and remove boats, docks and lifts.

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According to Minnesota Waters, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is initiating the training as part of a new state law passed in 2011.

The law states that individuals or businesses hired to install or remove water-related equipment from lakes are required to obtain a permit from the DNR before providing any of those services.

The DNR will begin to implement and enforce this during the 2012 open water season.

All service providers must complete invasive species training and pass an examination in order to obtain a permit.

A new page on the DNR website provides information about service provider training and permitting -- www.dnr.state.mn.us/lsp/index.html.

A training workshop in Alexandria is scheduled for Wednesday, February 15 at Douglas County Public Works, 526 Willow Drive, from 1 to 4 p.m.

The DNR has partnered with Minnesota Waters, a nonprofit organization promoting responsible stewardship of Minnesota's water resources, to provide training and testing of service providers.

The assistance of Minnesota Waters increases the DNR's capacity to fully implement the statewide training and permit requirements in 2012.

"Minnesota Waters looks forward to working with the DNR to provide training and resources for Minnesota's lake service providers, and to supporting the integral role these businesses play in aquatic invasive species prevention," said Lois Sinn Lindquist of Alexandria, executive director at Minnesota Waters. "We're delighted that this training is mandatory and it's critical that all lake service providers are identified, contacted and certified in the steps they must take to help prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species."

Training materials will be uploaded to the Web page (www.dnr.state.mn.us/lsp/index.html) when finalized in mid-January.

The initial 21 training dates and locations, including the one in Alexandria, are listed on the Web page. The training opportunities, which will be offered across the state, will begin in late January and run through March.

Service providers' employees are also required to complete DNR aquatic invasive species training, which will be offered online. Those employees will be able to log on to a training Web page, complete the training about aquatic invasive species, laws and precautions, and receive a printed certificate upon completion.

This online training will be made available by March on the DNR website.

The DNR will begin accepting service provider applications and application fee payments after February 1. The service provider application will be online, so service providers must visit the Web page - www.dnr.state.mn.us/lsp/index.html - to apply for the permit.

Upon receipt of an application, a $50 application fee and verification of training, a permit will be issued by DNR. The service provider permit, which will be valid for three years, must be in possession while providing any services.

Service providers that previously attended in-person training in 2011 are not required to attend again, but are required to pass an exam.

Application and training dates and locations will be listed on the service provider Web page.

Sinn Lindquist said that Minnesota Waters believes an engaged citizenry will effectively protect and restore Minnesota's irreplaceable natural assets - clean and healthy lakes and streams - for current and future generations.

The non-profit organization provides issue advocacy, training, connections, and support to empower citizens and citizen-led groups to be active, effective advocates for Minnesota's waterscape.

For more information on the Lake Service Provider trainings, visit www.minnesotawaters.org or call (320) 257-6630.

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