Don’t move a mussel, or a water milfoil or any other aquatic invasive species!

Michigan is gearing up once again to do battle against aquatic invaders at a lake near you. The Michigan Mobile Boat Wash project is taking reservations for 2015.

DEQ portable boat wash station. Photo credit: Jo Latimore
DEQ portable boat wash station. Photo credit: Jo Latimore

Michigan Mobile Boat Wash Project can bring a mobile boat wash to your boat landing. The Mobile Boat Wash Project will partner with your local organization to help promote boater education. The boat wash station is operated by two staff members who wash all the boats and provide informational materials and giveaways to the boaters. Helping to coordinate this years’ calendar for a Mobile Boat Wash demonstration is Jo Latimore at Michigan State University (MSU) Department of Fisheries and Wildlife.

Zebra mussels, quagga mussels, and aggressive non-native water plants wreak havoc in lakes, rivers, and streams. They clog water ways, plug up equipment and clog intake pipes. Invasive aquatic species plants can overtake natural plant species and quickly replace native habitat. This interferes with the native system disrupting fish populations and recreational activities. Zebra and quagga mussel eggs and larvae can stick to the sides of boats unseen and hitchhike to another body of water. Cleaning boats, blowing out engines, draining and drying wells and gear, and inspecting other areas of boats and trailers can prevent aquatic hitchhikers.

Michigan invasive species law prohibits transport of aquatic plants, zebra mussels or other species on public roads, and prohibits launching a watercraft or placing a trailer in a body of water with plants or prohibited species attached. It is also unlawful to transport water from infested waters. Simply washing boating and other watercraft equipment before arriving and after departing can prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species. Your local organization can promote boater education by bringing the Mobile Boat Wash to their community!

The Mobile Boat Wash is trailer mounted and has a heated, high pressure washing system that is effective in cleaning most invasive organisms from boats and trailers. It then collects filters and returns the wash water into a second tank for proper disposal away from your lake. The boat wash team provides an excellent opportunity to teach boaters the importance of the Michigan Clean Boats, Clean Waters clean, drain, dry message.

For more information about Michigan’s Mobile Boat Washing Project contact Jo Latimore at MSU Department of Fisheries and Wildlife at or call 517-432-1491. For more information about Michigan’s Clean Boats, Clean Waters volunteer program visit their website. More information about Aquatic Invasive species management in Michigan can be found at the Department of Environmental Quality webpage

For more information about invasive aquatic plants contact Beth Clawson a Michigan State University Extension educator. To learn more about invasive organisms and invasive aquatic plants contact Michigan State University Extension Natural Resources educators who are working across Michigan to provide aquatic invasive species educational programming and assistance. You can contact an educator through MSU Extension’s “Find an Expert” search tool using the keywords “Natural Resources Water Quality.”

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