Officials continue to work on zebra mussels solution

PIERRE, S.D. (KOTA TV) – The Rules Review Committee of South Dakota Legislature reviewed the Game Fish And Parks department emergency rules regarding zebra mussels in Lake Sharpe and Lake Francis Case to designate those waters as containment waters which would require boaters to follow decontamination rules as laid out in law. The emergency rule action was taken by the Commission in July. GFP wildlife director Tony Leif said there will be additional restrictions with the additional designation.

He also said this would require that any boat in the water for three days will need to be decontaminated.

Leif said this rule would not have an impact on the boat plug rule.

Republican Rep Jean Hunhoff, who is Vice Chair of the Committee said lawmakers reacted to stop the spread of zebra mussels when they were found  at Lewis and Clark lake.

The goal all along has been to slow the spread which Leif said is the most realistic goal. He said it’s possible that without those regulations implemented earlier, the mussels might have reached Lake Sharpe sooner. Hunhoff asked why it hadn’t spread to other bodies of water….to which Leif said it eventually could. He said the rule that’s most important to slowing the spread is the boat plug rule.

Hunhoff expressed disappointment that Yankton was at the top of the list in Region three for the most citations.

Leif said they are stepping up enforcement efforts. He said the anglers at Lakes Sharpe and Francis Case have a higher compliance rate following the boat plug rule than the recreational boaters at those lakes.

The rules review committee will be Meeting again in September at which time the GFP is looking to get the emergency rule permanently adopted.