Results of the 2020 Watercraft Inspections on the White Iron Chain of Lakes
- Throughout 2020, North St. Louis and Lake County Soil and Water Conservation Districts (SWCDs) conducted watercraft inspections at various public landings on the White Iron Chain of Lakes, and lakes that drain into or "feed" White Iron Chain of Lakes. Inspectors checked boats for attached organic matter and water and educated public access users of the risk Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) pose to our lakes and how to help prevent their spread.
- Fall, Birch-South, Farm, and White Iron-North boat landings were the busier places on the Chain of Lakes and feeder lakes.
- 0 to 2.6% of the boats inspected at Chain of Lakes and feeder lakes boat landings had plants or animal species attached. About 4-6% of the boats inspected at Kawishiwi River campground, Moose Lake, and northeast Bear Island boat ramps had plants or animal species attached.
- Due to COVID-19, inspector trainings were moved to an online platform rather than in-person. This reduced the funds needed for training, and therefore North St. Louis SWCD was able to allocate an additional 100+ inspector hours to better cover the Birch-South boat ramp which was particularly busy. In total, between North St. Louis and Lake County SWCDs, 777 inspector hours were worked on White Iron Chain of Lakes, and 256 inspector hours were worked on feeder lakes.
- Although traffic was low on the smaller lakes, inspectors found people on those lakes move from one lake to another lake more often than those who visit bigger lakes in the region. Lake hopping raises the risk of lakes acquiring a new infestation.
- In June, North St. Louis County SWCD was able to acquire Decon Goal signs and these helped encourage complete decontaminations and helped visualize the social norm of receiving a decontamination. Decontaminations use hot water to kill attached AIS, and flush out water from live wells, so that a watercraft can enter a waterbody without introducing a new infestation.
- White Iron Chain of Lake Association is working hard to maintain water quality and healthy lake ecosystems by preventing the spread of AIS.