Aquatic Invasive Species ‘landing blitz’ July 3-7
To many people, the 4th of July is Wisconsin’s busiest and best boating holiday. It is also a great time to remember that everyone – whether paddling, fishing, jet skiing or boating – can help protect lakes and rivers from the introduction and spread of aquatic invasive species (AIS). During the annual statewide Clean Boats, Clean Waters (CBCW) Landing Blitz, July 3-7, CBCW watercraft inspectors throughout Oneida County will be joining forces with regional AIS partners and Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources staff around the state to remind you that the power to protect is shared by all.
AIS, such as zebra mussels and spiny water fleas, pose great risks to the health of waters and fisheries. Some invasive species do not have control and management options to prevent their numbers from exploding once they are in a lake or river. Prevention is the key and it’s in the hands of visitors as wells as full time Wisconsinites.
“This campaign has become a mainstay of our prevention efforts, since the holiday draws both frequent and infrequent boaters to the water, allowing us to empower a lot of people,” said Bob Wakeman, statewide aquatic invasive species coordinator for the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.
During the Landing Blitz, the Oneida County AIS team, along with Clean Boats, Clean Waters watercraft inspectors from 25 participating lake associations and Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources staff, will be on hand at boat landings throughout the county to give demonstrations of the AIS prevention steps and answer questions about invasive species. Their efforts will build on the success of last year’s campaign, when volunteers inspected over 9,000 boats and spoke statewide with over 18,000 people.
In addition, watercraft inspectors around the state will be passing out the ever popular “Stop Aquatic Hitchhiker” free microfiber boat towels (while supplies last) as a thank you to boaters they observe practicing the important prevention steps of “Inspect, Remove, Drain, and Never Move.” The towels serve as a reminder to take action to prevent the spread of AIS and are perfect for soaking up water in livewells and for wiping down boats, jet skis, anchors and other equipment after a day on the water.
“One of the most exciting things about this campaign is the strong volunteer effort,” Wakeman said. “Every year hundreds of concerned citizens participate as volunteers to help us raise awareness and empower boaters.
For those who use social media, help spread the word about aquatic invasive species prevention by posting photos and messages using #CleanBoatsCleanWaters.
Invasive plants and animals, like Eurasian watermilfoil, spiny water fleas and zebra mussels, can spread easily by hitching a ride on boats and other equipment, including trailers. They can also hide in the water in livewells, bait and fish buckets and motors, so it’s important to drain them and pull the plugs to drain your boat. Because many invasive species can also be hidden in mud, it is vital to clean off anchors.
The following steps are required by law to prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species:
Inspect boats, trailers and equipment for attached aquatic plants or animals.
Remove all attached plants or animals
Drain all water from boats, motors, livewells and other equipment
Never move live fish away from a waterbody
Dispose of unwanted bait in the trash
Buy minnows from a Wisconsin bait dealer
Only use leftover minnows when either fishing with them on the same body of water, or on other waters if no lake/river water or other fish have been added to the container.
Following these steps also helps boaters comply with Wisconsin state law, which prohibits the transport of aquatic invasive species. To learn more about invasive species and their impacts to Wisconsin’s waters and economy, visit http://dnr.wi.gov/lakes/invasives.