By Paul J. Sniadecki, Board Director
Since 2009, MLC 324.41325 has required watercraft users to clean/dry their equipment to ensure it does not transport AIS from water body to water body.
SB1072 amended the statute by adding the following additional requirement:
(i) Removing all drain plugs from bilges, ballast tanks, and live wells
While not specifically mentioned in the Bill, the added provision helps address some AIS related wake boat concerns shared by many riparians. Emptying the ballast tank will help stop the transport of any AIS. The Bill does fall short of requiring disinfection/decontamination of the ballast tank.
It should be noted that since 2009, violation of MCL 324.41325 has only been a “civil infraction” which means any offender merely gets a “ticket.” Like a parking ticket. Considering the permanent and expensive-to-remediate damage that can occur to a lake that becomes infested, the penalty does not match the offense. Additionally, MLSA has no record, or verifiable history, of a DNR Police Officer issuing such a “ticket.” There is also no evidence of a State Police Officer or Sheriff issuing such a ticket. If AIS tickets have been issued in your area, please share the info with MLSA at your earliest convenience.