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      Efforts to blast away invasive species at Lake Antoine

      Thirty-six-thousand zebra mussels per square meter in a lake may sound like an enemy you don't want to mess with. But Wild Rivers Invasive Species Coalition has a battle plan. â??This is the first time we've had a boat wash at Lake Antoine,â?? says Dickinson County Conservation District Director, Ann Hruska. â??It is the prime focus for zebra mussel containment.â??

      The boat wash is part of a five-county effort to slow the spread of invasive species, including zebra mussels and Eurasian milfoil. â??What we target are lakes that have zebra mussels; not so much that you can prevent them from coming anymore. They're already here and they're not going to go away. If we can contain them and not have them spread to other lakes, that's the important thing,â?? Hruska added.

      The boat wash at Lake Antoine is free for all incoming and outgoing boats and uses pressurized water heated at 140 degrees. â??Almost every 20 to 25 minutes, there have been boats; yesterday was a busy day,â?? said boat washer, Brian Hewlett.

      Since many of the contaminants cannot be seen, it's easy for them to hop on a boat incognito. â??Basically any drop of water can contain microscopic velagers for zebra mussels,â?? Hruska said.

      These species are called invasive for a reason, so to make sure you're not doing more harm then good, take advantage of the helpful tool used to ward off the enemy.