Aquatic Invasive Species
Aquatic invasive species can be spread from one waterbody to another on boats or gear that have not been properly cleaned, drained and dried between uses.
For example, invasive zebra and quagga mussels can be carried between waterbodies on watercraft and gear. The adult mussels are very small and can be hard to spot on a watercraft. The larval forms of these mussels, called veligers, are microscopic and can survive in standing water in a watercraft for many days. If this standing water is moved into a new waterbody, that waterbody may become infested by the mussels.
Invasive plants can spread through small fragments attached to gear or a watercraft. Fish diseases, like whirling disease, can also be spread through mud and water. To prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species always clean, drain, and dry all watercraft and gear before entering a new waterbody.
Clean, Drain, Dry
You can help protect our waters. Follow these steps to help prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species:
- Inspect your watercraft, trailer, and gear. Remove all mud, sand, water and plant traces before leaving the shoreline.
- Rinse, scrub or pressure wash your boat, kayak or canoe and gear on dry land away from storm water drains, ditches or waterways. Do not use a local carwash – if invasive species are present, you could unknowingly introduce them as the water from the carwash is released into the environment.
- Before leaving the waterbody, drain all water from:
- internal compartments (e.g. ballasts, bilges and livewells)
- bait buckets
- life jackets and other gear
- Raise and lower outboard engines several times to ensure all water has drained out.
- Drain non-motorized watercraft by inverting or tilting the watercraft, opening compartments and removing seats if necessary.
- Dry your watercraft and gear completely between trips.
- Leave compartments open and sponge out standing water.