City pursues grant for boat cleaning station

by Marianne Gasaway

Clear Lake continues to be proactive about protecting its greatest resource.

The city will make application to the Iowa Department of Natural Resources for a grant which will help to purchase a boat decontamination station.

CLEAR Project Coodinator Jim Sholly made a presentation to the City Council recently about the CD3 Cleaning Station he proposes for installation adjacent to the parking lot at Tourist Park, 1512 South Shore Drive.  The station is intended to help prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species into or out of Clear Lake by providing tools to boaters to properly treat their vessels before entering or exiting the lake.

Sholly describes the waterless system as “a super duty shop vac, air compressor and tool station.”

Very few of the cleaning stations exist in Iowa, however a number of Minnesota lakes have been utilizing the technology.

Sholly said although zebra mussels, which Clear Lake has experienced, are perhaps the most familiar invasive species to the public, he is most concerned about Eurasian watermilfoil taking hold in Clear Lake.  It is defined as a rooted, submerged aquatic plant which creates dense mats at the water’s surface, inhibiting water recreationists.  It overtakes habitat and destroys native aquatic plants.

“It would be the end of boating on Clear Lake if we get that,” Sholly told Council members.  “It’s a nasty plant we need to keep out of Clear Lake.”

The proposed boat cleaning station would facilitate the cleaning of all aquatic plants from watercraft and properly draining all water.  There would be no cost to use the station.

The $40,000 station would be easy to operate and it’s “Cloud connected,” meaning its use is monitored.  The City has the equipment needed to clean and winterize the station, according to Sholly.

“We could promote the station through the Clear Lake Yacht Club, which has boats coming (for regattas) from Minnetonka and lakes where milfoil is a problem.  They could stop at the station before they launch on Clear Lake,” Sholly suggested.

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