Resolution 2008-3: Aquatic Plant Transport Penalty Increase

The Problem:  Some who violate laws prohibiting transport of aquatic invasive species and/or aquatic plants are not affected enough by the fine to cause a change in their behavior. Some would rather pay a $148.20 forfeiture or fine than take the time to check their boat and trailer. The existing amount of the forfeiture is not appropriate for the damage that can be done by those who violate the aquatic plant transport laws.

Whereas the spread of aquatic invasive species by boats and trailers remains a significant threat to the health of our waters and the safety of those who enjoy them, and

Whereas it costs tens of thousands of dollars to treat a water body that has been infested with Eurasian Watermilfoil and this will not eliminate the plant but just control it; and

Whereas the present $148.20 forfeiture is regarded by some to be a very minor cost, and

Whereas the use of a significant ($2,000) forfeiture or fine and loss of license changed the behavior of many deer poachers, and

Whereas a similar policy will cause a boater to stop using his/her boat, thus eliminating the potential transport of aquatic plants,

Be it therefore resolved that the Bayfield County Lakes Forum supports the following:  For a second conviction of illegal transport of aquatic plants and/or aquatic invasive species, the offending boater should face mandatory suspension of boat registration, fishing license and waterfowl stamp in addition to a mandatory, substantial forfeiture or fine.

Unanimously approved at the August 8, 2008 meeting of the Bayfield County Lakes Forum Board of Directors

Jim Brakken, BCLF President