Life Jackets – Check
Boat Registration – Check
Sound Signalling Device – Check
Fire Extinquisher – Check
Hitchhikers – What?
Boaters hitting area rivers and lakes this weekend might want to give themselves a few extra minutes for hull inspections. Many State’s Boating Authorities will be having boat inspection stations set up along routes to major boating destinations. The checkpoints are designed to detect any hitchhiking invasive species that may be attached to watercraft.
State Boating Authorities are focusing their attention to aquatic species that are posing immediate threats to the State’s recreational waters. Zebra Mussels and quagga mussels are just a couple of the targeted species. The mussels can ruin fisheries; clog boat motor cooling systems; foul watercraft hulls and equipment; and clog water-delivery systems used for power plants, irrigation, and domestic water use.
Aquatic Nuisance Species (ANS)
Aquatic nuisance species (ANS) are non-indigenous species that threaten the diversity or abundance of native aquatic species. Two such ANS are the Zebra mussel and the Quagga mussel. Great Lakes water users spend tens of millions of dollars on zebra mussel control every year. Zebra mussel infestations cause pronounced ecological changes in the Great Lakes and major rivers of the central United States.
Non-indigenous aquatic nuisance plants, such as purple loosestrife, Eurasian water milfoil and hydrilla quickly establish themselves, replacing native plants.
Environmental and economic problems caused by the dense growth of these weeds include impairment of water-based recreation, navigation, flood control, water quality and fish and wildlife habitat.
Boaters should be conscientious when pulling their boats from recreational waters. You should inspect the boat and trailer, while still in the ramp area, and remove any suspected ANS and mud to eliminate the spread to other waters that may be visited.
Please consult with your state marine patrol and local marinas to identify non-indigenous species in your area. For more information on Impacts of Aquatic Non-indigenous Species, visit http://www.protectyourwaters.net/impacts.php