Clean, drain and dry recreational equipment to help prevent the introduction and spread of AIS

Eliminate the route for hitchhikers trying to make their way into Lakeville Lake and thousands of other inland lakes in Michigan.

Help Stop Aquatic Hitchhikers! Photo credit: Michigan Department of Natural Resources l MSU Extension
Help Stop Aquatic Hitchhikers! Photo credit: Michigan Department of Natural Resources l MSU Extension

Stopping the spread or introduction of aquatic invasive species (AIS) seems like a daunting task. What can residents do to help prevent the spread of AIS? It is easy to remember— clean, drain and dry all watercrafts and water equipment such as canoes, kayaks, fishing gear, etc. The Michigan Department of Natural of Resources has committed to posting educational signage at all public access sites along inland lakes to help educate the public about these important steps. When you are at the lake, perhaps getting ready to launch your boat, share your knowledge with others about these important steps:

  • Inspect: Remove all visible mud, plants, fish or animals from all watercrafts (boats, jet skis, kayaks, canoes, etc.) and fishing equipment before transporting them to any waterway.
  • Wash: Thoroughly wash boats, trailers and other water equipment with hot water (approximately 140-160 degrees Fahrenheit). No soap or chemicals are recommended. This can be accomplished by mobile or portable boat wash stations which are outfitted with pressure washers. These stations can also recover the water used in the rinsing process and reuse it for use in additional washings. The Michigan Mobile Boat wash Project has a mobile boat wash station and is scheduling visits to public access sites across the state this summer to help raise awareness about aquatic hitchhikers. The Lakeville Lake Property Owners are collaborating with the Michigan Mobile Boat Wash project to bring this trailer-mounted unit to Lakeville Lake’s public access site located in Lakeville, Oakland County on Friday, August 15, 2014 from Noon to 5 p.m.
  • Dry: Be sure to allow ample time for anything that comes into contact with water to dry. Leave items out for several days before going to new waters.
  • Drain: Be sure to empty water from equipment (boats, trailers, equipment, clothing, pets, etc.) before transporting. Take care to drain water away from the landing.
  • Dispose: Be sure to discard unwanted fishing bait in the trash. Do not release plants, fish or animal (species from indoor aquaria and outdoor water gardens) into a waterbody unless they came from that waterbody. It is illegal to empty live wells and bait buckets into water bodies. It is also illegal to transfer fish to water bodies other than where they were caught.
  • Identify: Learn to recognize the appearance and characteristics of aquatic invasive species.

Remember, it is illegal to:

  • Transport aquatic plants, zebra mussels or other prohibited species on public roads.
  • Launch a boat in Michigan that has aquatic plant material attached to the boat or its trailer. To learn more about what you can do to prevent the spread of AIS into and out of Lakeville Lake, consider stopping by to visit the mobile boat washing station on August 15, 2014. Volunteers with the Lakeville Lake Property Owners will be assisting the Mobile Boat Wash project staff to provide the public with boater education informational material and giveaways.

For area lakes interested in scheduling a visit from the Mobile Boat Wash should contact Michigan State University’s Dr. Jo Latimore or Michigan Department of Environmental Quality’s Kevin Walters.

To learn more about Michigan’s Clean Boats Clean Waters Program, which trains volunteers to educate others on the steps to take to keep water equipment clean in order to prevent the introduction and spread of AIS, contact Beth Clawson. The Michigan Boater’s Guide to Selected Invasive Aquatic Plants is a waterproof identification guide available from the Michigan State University Extension Bookstore to help identify aquatic plants.

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