WINNEBAGO COUNTY, Wisc. – During the annual Clean Boats, Clean Waters Landing Blitz, July 3rd – July 7th, 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 and Shawano and Menominee Counties to remind you that the power to protect is shared by all of us who love Wisconsin’s waters.
The Fox-Wolf Watershed Alliance staff will be partnering with the Department of Natural Resources staff and volunteers as well as other AIS partners as part of the Drain Campaign that is occurring statewide at boat launches.
Aquatic invasive species, such as zebra mussels, pose great risks to the health of our waters and fisheries. Often there aren’t known control options to get rid of AIS once they’re in a lake or river. Prevention is the key and it’s in the hands of visitors as wells as full time Wisconsinites. More lakes than ever are participating in 2019 with inspectors giving away free Stop Aquatic hitchhikers boat towels.
“The holiday weekend brings a lot of people to their favorite lakes including the Winnebago Waterways. This campaign has become a mainstay of our prevention efforts and allows us to reach and empower a lot of people to help prevent the spread of AIS,” says Chris Acy, the Aquatic Invasive Species Coordinator of the Winnebago Waterways Program at the Fox- Wolf Watershed Alliance.
Volunteers, AIS partners and DNR boat inspectors will be on hand at landings around the state to demonstrate the prevention steps and answer questions about invasive species. Their efforts will build on the success of last year’s campaign, when volunteers inspected over 9,000 boats and spoke with over 18,000 people.
Invasive plants and animals, like Eurasian watermilfoil, spiny water fleas and zebra mussels, can spread easily by hitching a ride on boats and other equipment, including trailers. They can also hide in the water in livewells, bait, fish buckets and motors so it’s important to drain them and to pull the plugs to drain your boat. Because many invasive species can also be hidden in mud, it’s vital to clean off anchors.
Following these steps also helps boaters comply with Wisconsin state law, which prohibits the transport of aquatic invasive species. To learn more about invasive species and their impacts to Wisconsin’s waters and economy, visit DNR.wi.gov and search “Invasive Species.”