Michigan energized for 5th annual Aquatic Invasive Species Week

The annual Landing Blitz in July is an opportunity to reach boaters and other watercraft users with information about stopping the spread of Aquatic Invasive Species.

Kayak and canoe owners inspect their watercraft before entering the water.
Kayak and canoe owners inspect their watercraft before entering the water. Beth Clawson, MSU Extension.

In an effort to raise awareness about preventing the spread of aquatic invasive species (AIS), the e Michigan Departments of Environmental Quality, Natural Resources, and Agriculture and Rural Development invite the public to the 5th annual aquatic invasive species "Landing Blitz" outreach event.  This year’s dates are slated for June 30 through July 8, 2018 as part of Michigan’s annual Aquatic Invasive Species Awareness Week.  Last year saw over 70 locations hosting awareness events, many with accompanying boat wash demonstrations in partnership with DEQ boat wash demonstration, MSU Extension and volunteers from the Michigan Clean Boats, Clean Waters (MICBCW) program. 

Local volunteer partners coordinate to host an event and help to deliver a consistent message throughout the state about preventing the spread of AIS.  Events are set up at launch sites to educate boaters and others of the importance of cleaning and inspecting their watercraft between uses and between waterbodies.  Local partners include: lake associations, conservation districts, Cooperative Invasive Species Management Areas, watershed alliances and others.  They will deliver the message of “Clean, Drain, Dry and Dispose” and “Stop Aquatic Hitchhikers.”  

Michigan Clean Boats, Clean Waters Volunteer Hero Leader training is available for free on the MICBCW website at www.micbcw.org. Click on the button that says: “Join the Fight.” Becoming a MICBCW volunteer leader allows you to organize landing events at your local lakes to educate watercraft users beyond the landing blitz week.  Michigan has over 900,000 registered boaters and many other recreational, commercial, and industrial users of over 11,000 inland lakes and over 36,000 miles of rivers and streams in the state, many of which are impacted by AIS.

AIS awareness is an important first step toward behavior change, which prevents the introduction and spread of AIS. The MICBCW program along with the DEQ boat washing equipment includes adding reporting protocols and informing people of state laws and proper bait disposal. The 5th Annual Aquatic Invasive Species Awareness Week offers an opportunity to join forces with government, business, industry, environmental groups, community organizations, and citizens to take action against the spread of aquatic invasive species.

For more information about the Clean Boats, Clean Waters program, or aquatic invasive species, contact Beth Clawson, MSU 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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