Brad Kirsch is not new to the Northwoods.
“I grew up visiting here; the area means a lot to me,” Kirsch said.
But he’s a new full-time resident. Kirsch owns Lakeside Rentals and Storage in Minocqua. The business is entering its peak season.
“We take the boats out of storage typically throughout May,” Kirsch said. “Then it turns into a rental roughly in July, August and September.”
Kirsch rents a total of 26 boats, from fishing to pontoon to ski boats. And these boats could go to hundreds of different lakes. This means Kirsch needs to be aware of aquatic invasive species.
“We take that pretty seriously here to protect Northwoods Lakes,” Kirsch said.
Lakeside follows DNR regulations and lakes association recommendations, but they also clean the boats thoroughly.
“Each rental, when it comes back, gets a deep clean, and specific lakes that are more prone to invasive species, we steam clean them,” Kirsch said.
Stephanie Boismenue is the Aquatic Invasive Species Coordinator with Oneida County Land and Water Conservancy. Boismenue says it’s crucial to make sure the boats are clean.
“A boat can transfer aquatic invasive species in multiple ways,” Boismenue said.
Whether they’re on an anchor, propeller or bait bucket, aquatic invasive species can be anywhere.
“You really have to clean that up before you leave the landing stage,” Boismenue said. “Also, it’s Wisconsin law that you must inspect your boat, remove all aquatic vegetation plants, sand, anything that doesn’t belong.”
In Boismenue’s eyes, Lakeside Rentals and Storage is doing exactly the right thing to prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species. The lakes are one of the main reasons Kirsch loves the Northwoods.
“At Lakeside, we have to do our part with all the boats that come out with rentals, and keep the lakes clean and keep people coming to visit, which is what really drives our communities here,” Kirsch said.