Digital displays have been helping retailers and sports team boost their sales and entertain audiences for years. But, Lake Minnetonka in Minnesota is taking advantage of the versatility of digital signs and using their sign to raise awareness of invasive species with hopes of keeping their waters clean and safe.
“Hennepin County runs messages to help visitors identify invasive species and understand the Clean, Drain, and Dry steps,” says Tony Brough, the county’s Senior Environmentalist.
The zebra mussel is a common invasive organism that attaches to smooth surfaces and creates razor sharp residue. They reproduce quickly, laying up to 500,000 eggs per year!
Another species that commonly grows in lakes is the Eurasian watermilfoil. This aquatic plant grows rapidly and forms thick mats that can tangle in propellers and obstruct swimming and other water activities.
By spreading knowledge of these species and how to remove them from boats and other watercrafts, Lake Minnetonka slows the spread of these organisms from lake to lake. Also, using the Clean, Drain, and Dry steps is a state law, so the sign also reduces the amount of illegal watercraft entry at that site.
But, the signs serves more purposes than just preventing the growth of invasive species populations.
“The control software allows several different entities to take charge of their own messages,” explains Brough.
The Water Patrol runs PSAs and the Emergency management uses the sign to inform people of severe weather warnings.
The digital display stands in a location that used to be cluttered with numerous static signs. The place now looks far less cluttered and delivers messages more effectively.
In fact, the county liked the sign so much that they decided to install two more around the lake just two years later.