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"Clean In, Clean Out" to prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species

Boat launch dock at a lake

Aquatic invasive species (AIS) such as zebra mussels threaten the health of Minnesota's beloved lakes. They are often unknowingly transported from one lake to another when they hitch a ride on watercraft, trailers and aquatic sports equipment. In addition to overwhelming and destroying native species, they can cause recreational and economic damage, potentially changing the ways in which we're able to use and enjoy our lakes. 

To help prevent the spread of AIS, Ramsey County Parks & Recreation has launched a campaign to remind everyone to "Clean In, Clean Out."

“We can all make a difference,” said Justin Townsend, Environmental Resources Specialist, “We need to keep the invasive plant and animal species from traveling because they push out beneficial species.”

Free tools to keep watercraft clean

Parks & Recreation has a number of free tools people can use to keep watercraft free of aquatic hitchhikers.

“Whether you’re launching a cruiser or a kayak, you should always clean, drain, dry your watercraft and safely dispose of bait,” said Townsend. “Keeping your watercraft free from invasive species and not dumping bait keeps our water bodies healthy."

Web app

The award winning AIS web app guides users through a quick and complete check of their watercraft before it goes into the lake and after it comes out. Users simply pick their location, choose their type of watercraft and follow the instructions specific to them. The app makes it easier for lake users to check all of the right places.

Visit to access the web app.

Cleaning tools

Turtle Lake County Park offers a CD3 (Clean, Drain, Dry and Dispose) cleaning system that's free to use. The unit provides a variety of self-service resources including an air blower, wet-dry vacuum, hand tools and lights to help you remove, then dispose of, water, weeds, debris and leftover bait. At all other Parks & Recreation boat launch locations, visitors will find AIS tool stations that provide basic brushes or pickers to remove mud, weeds and debris from watercraft and trailers. 

Learn more about the simple steps that you can take to stop invasive species in their tracks at

Posted on Thursday, May 26, 2022 - 1:41 p.m.