Aquatic Invasive Species

Watercraft Inspection and Decontamination Program

We’ve partnered with the MN DNR, Burntside Lake Association, Pelican Lakeshore Owners Association, Vermilion Lake Association, Fayal Township and the City of Gilbert to offer watercraft inspection and decontamination services in the Ely, Tower, Cook, Orr, Eveleth and Gilbert areas. Funding is provided by St. Louis County AIS Prevention Program.

Watercraft Inspections

Watercraft inspectors are trained and certified by the MN DNR to visually and tactilely inspect watercraft for aquatic invasive species (AIS) or anything else that could potentially spread AIS, such as water, mud, plants or other debris. Inspectors educate boaters about the issues and impacts of AIS and inform boaters of the laws regarding AIS transportation. Inspectors also demonstrate to boaters how to inspect and remove AIS from boating equipment prior to leaving the lake access. Most inspections are quick, taking less than three minutes. However, if decontamination is required, boaters will be delayed. Inspectors are stationed at public and private accesses around Burntside Lake, Shagawa Lake, Lake Vermilion, Pelican Lake, Ely Lake, and Lake Ore-be-gone from Walleye Fishing Opener through mid-late October annually.

Watercraft Decontaminations

Decontamination services are offered at no charge to watercraft owners in the Cook, Tower, Ely and Gilbert areas. Watercraft users can get their boat, canoe, kayak, jet ski, etc. decontaminated in 10-20 minutes. It’s a voluntary process but according to state law, watercraft found with AIS must be decontaminated before launching. These centrally-located decontamination units are staffed May through mid-September annually.

All watercraft inspectors are hired through Always There Staffing.

We are currently seeking watercraft inspectors for the 2018 season!

1) Must be 18 years or older.
2) Must have reliable transportation.
3) Must perform physical tasks including standing and kneeling outdoors in varied weather conditions.
4) Must be able to use a tablet device to record data.
5) Must complete a 1 day DNR Watercraft Inspection training session.

1) Knowledge about aquatic invasive species in Minnesota.
2) Knowledge about different types of watercraft and water-based recreation.
3) Experience in a customer service setting.

Watercraft inspectors interview boaters and perform watercraft inspections at select locations. Inspectors also inform boaters about AIS prevention practices and record surveys on a tablet device. Inspectors are required to understand laws related to AIS prevention and effectively communicate with the public.

Anticipated season dates are May – September, with the possibility to continue through mid-late October. Up to 40 hours per week, mostly weekends (required) and some midweek hours.

MN DNR Watercraft Inspector training will be held in Brainerd on August 8th, 2018 . Arrangements can be made for applicants who need to attend training at a different date and/or location.

Apply online at the Always There Staffing website: For program questions, please contact Emily Nelson at or (218) 471-7285. The Watercraft Inspector serves to inform and educate the public to the threats of ecologically harmful aquatic invasive species to our area lakes. Inspectors work at public water access sites educating the public by providing information to watercraft users and conducting a brief survey while inspecting watercraft for invasive species. All inspectors hired must receive Level 1 DNR Watercraft Inspector training. All inspectors completing watercraft decontaminations must receive Level 2 DNR Watercraft Inspector training. Most work is on weekends and holidays from May through September, with the possibility to continue through mid-late October.

Project Reports

Watercraft Inspection and Decontamination Program 2017

Watercraft Inspection and Decontamination Program 2016

Project Partners


Burntside Lake Association

Vermilion Lake Association

Pelican Lakeshore Owners Association

Fayal Township

City of Gilbert


More Information »

North St. Louis Soil and Water Conservation District Northland Office Building

307 1st St S, Suite 114
Virginia, MN 55792

Upcoming Board Meetings

Wednesday, November 14th at 10:30 a.m. Suite 118
The public is encouraged to attend.

View Meeting Schedule »
Minnesota Clean Air and Water Legacy Amendment