MENASHA, Wis. (WFRV) – It is the holiday weekend and that means plenty of people will be out on their boats.
Hundreds of Wisconsinites will be hitting the water for the state’s busiest boating holiday. But when they go out, they might bring back some unwanted travelers with them.
The Fox-Wolf Watershed Alliance will be out at boat launches across the area, reminding boaters to help prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species. It’s part of the annual “Clean Boats, Clean Waters” Landing Blitz taking place July 3 through July 7.
“Visual inspection is a big one,” said Anna Bartsch, Aquatic Invasive Species Coordinator for Shawano and Menominee Counties. “Looking for weeds, mussels, snails- anything that is not your boat, basically, you want to remove from your trailer and your boat. Wiping down your boat or spraying it down is one of the best things you can do. Certain things can stay alive out of the water, for instance, some snails can live up to four weeks. Zebra mussels can stay alive for about a week outside of water. Leaving it out in the sun is not good enough. You also want to drain the water from your boat so pulling your plug and letting that drain from your transem well, your live well, and spray from your motor. When it comes to live wells and bait buckets you want to make sure you’re not transporting any water that you would have picked up at a lake or a stream.”
Staff from the Fox-Wolf Watershed Alliance, Calumet County, Shawano Area Waterways Management, and Cloverleaf Lakes Protective Association will be at boat launches in the Winnebago Waterways as well as Shawano and Menominee Counties to remind boaters to practice clean boating techniques.
“Invasive species are non-native creatures,” says Bartsch. “The reason they get that name is not because they’re non-native, it’s because they either harm humans, the environment or the economy. That’s the big danger with them, they harm one of those three things. Zebra mussels can be harmful to humans due to the sharpness of their shells when they die. They can also clog intake pipes with our water supply, that causes extra money. They can drastically effect water clarity. Weed can effect maneuverability in water as well as habitats for certain fish. So fisheries can definitely be greatly affected as well.”
Inspectors will be handing out free “Stop Aquatic Hitchhikers” boat towels throughout the holiday weekend.