The Landing Blitz is Back!

Boaters will likely notice more boating activity on this 4th of July weekend; they may also notice more activity near the boat ramp. For the 7th straight year, the DNR and Clean Boats Clean waters volunteers across the state will be spending time helping boaters understand what they need to do to prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species during the annual 4th of July Landing Blitz.

Clean Boats Clean Waters' Gary Harper inspecting a boat. Photo courtesy of Dane County Land and Water Resources Department.

Clean Boats Clean Waters’ Gary Harper inspecting a boat. Photo courtesy of Dane County Land and Water Resources Department.

“The Landing Blitz is always a great event for both boaters and our Clean Boats Clean Waters volunteers,” says Tim Campbell, aquatic invasive species specialist for UW-Extension and the DNR. “This coordinated effort makes it so volunteers are part of something big, while boaters learn what they can do to protect Wisconsin’s waters from harmful invasive species.”

The event is certainly something big – the number of boats inspected during the 2014 Landing Blitz comprised of over 10% of all the boats inspected during the 2014 boating season. Any other weekend during the 2014 boating season likely contributed about half the amount.

In addition to working with boaters unfamiliar with the prevention steps, Landing Blitz participants will be rewarding boaters seen already practicing the important prevention steps of “Inspect your boat, remove plants and animals, drain water from live wells and buckets and never move live fish.” The towel serves as a good reminder to take action to prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species after a day of boating.

Inspect, Remove, Drain, Never Move!

Inspect, Remove, Drain, Never Move!

With a steadily growing base of Landing Blitz partners, the 2015 Landing Blitz could be the most successful yet. Whether you are a boater or a volunteer this weekend, take a minute to “Inspect, Remove, Drain, Never Move” and celebrate our state’s collective efforts to Stop Aquatic Hitchhikers!

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A Second Year for Lakeshore Habitat Restoration Training

As Wisconsin’s lakes start to become alive with activity, shoreline property owners start to think more about their lakefront and ways to maintain or improve what they have. Many of these property owners will be seeking the advice and services of professionals. How can a property owner know if who they are going to hire is knowledgeable in lakeshore restoration techniques? Luckily for Wisconsin’s lakeshores and lakeshore property owners, the “Lakeshore Habitat Restoration Training for Professionals” program taught by experts in habitat restoration will happen again after a successful first year.

An example of what good lakeshore restoration activities can do for your property! Credit: DNR

An example of what good lakeshore restoration activities can do for your property! Credit: DNR

“Research findings have shown that lakeshore habitat degradation and loss are key stressors to Wisconsin lakes,” says Patrick Goggin, University of Wisconsin Extension and Wisconsin DNR lakes specialist, who organizes the training session. “This training covers best management practices, state standards and tools available to assist anyone with dealing with those issues on their lakeshore. Any graduate of this program is certified to know the latest and best information on protecting and restoring lakeshore habitat.”

An enthusiastic group of more than 50 participants was in trained lakeshore rehabilitation techniques in 2014. The first event comprised of many small businesses, like nurseries, conservation consultants, and landscapers, as well as government partners. The diverse group helped attendees learn from the wide range of experience present and to develop a better network of lakeshore professionals focused on rehabilitation projects.

Nick Homan, a 2014 participant and owner of Lakescape Solutions LLC, found the lakeshore habitat restoration training a valuable experience. “This was a great opportunity to collaborate with peers and agency personnel in a situation that was noncompetitive,” he said. “We are a network of people interested in lakeshore restoration and together we can drive innovation in the industry. Overall, I felt that the experience was a very positive and a professional one.”

Given the success and positive reviews of the 2014 training sessions, Goggin is excited to offer them again this year. “We have begun to build a professional network of lakeshore habitat restoration professionals in Wisconsin that can utilize each other for information sharing, troubleshooting issues, and forming teams to tackle work together. I look forward to expanding this training to more of the state and to other stakeholders in coming sessions.”

Professionals will learn about many practices by seeing them at work in the field. Credit: NASECAWI

Professionals will learn about many practices by seeing them at work in the field. Credit: NASECAWI

The 2015 will be held on June 18th and 19th at The Lodge on Crooked Lake in Siren.  For more information on the training, visit the UW Extension Lakes website.

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Draining boats and livewells can stop invasive species in their tracks.

You may know to inspect your boat for weeds before you leave the lake, but did you know some of Wisconsin’s worst aquatic invasive species (AIS) can spread through transported water? Invaders like zebra mussel larvae or spiny water fleas – too small to readily see – can survive to the next lake when water is left in your livewell, buckets, bilge, motor or equipment.

That’s why AIS partners across Wisconsin will be reminding anglers and boaters to drain their gear this summer before hitting the road. UW-Extension’s AIS Communications Specialist, Tim Campbell, says that while many boaters and anglers are already doing a great job performing AIS prevention actions, feedback from anglers suggests that there could be some improvement. “Across the state, anglers were telling us the rules on fish and water transport just aren’t as clear to them. The DNR and our AIS partners listened, and we’re trying to help spread the word and offer a good alternative.”

Campbell explains that once your day’s catch is out of water, the fish aren’t considered live and can be safely transported home. Since fish need to be kept fresh on the road, Campbell suggests an alternative to livewells that’s already preferred by many anglers: ice.

To help anglers out, AIS partners across the state will be handing out ice packs at boat landings on June 12-14 as part of a statewide effort. “We know some folks are used to taking their catch home in livewells,” says Campbell, “but ice is a legal and better way to get those fish home. In addition to prevention the spread of AIS, tt stops any bacterial growth, and then your catch isn’t ingesting the fish toxins that concentrate in fouled, low-oxygen water on the way home, which some say affects the taste.”

Drying your boat for 5 days can help kill any AIS in residual water, but a simple disinfection process can do the job for those who plan to change lakes sooner. The DNR’s policy for when they move their boats is to mix 2.5 tablespoons bleach per 1 gallon of water, spray it on, and keep surfaces wet for 10 minutes.

“We also hear that anglers are really passionate about protecting their lakes, and will take time to remove and drain invasive species from their boats just because it’s the right thing to do. No one wants to bring zebra mussels to a new lake just because they forgot to pull the plug,” closes Campbell.

Drain those livewells and coolers!

 

It takes just a few minutes at the landing to keep our lakes beautiful and our fish healthy. Know the laws and follow the AIS prevention steps every time you leave the water.

INSPECT boats, trailers and equipment.

REMOVE all attached aquatic plants and animals.

DRAIN all water from boats, vehicles, equipment including livewells and buckets containing fish.

NEVER MOVE plants or live fish away from a waterbody.

DISPOSE of unwanted bait in the trash

BUY minnows from a Wisconsin bait dealer. Use leftover minnows only under certain conditions*

*You may take leftover minnows away from any state water and use them again on that same water. You may use leftover minnows on other waters only if no lake or river water or other fish were added to their container.

For more information contact [local and/or DNR info http://dnr.wi.gov/lakes/invasives]

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A Little Watercraft Inspection Help From YouTube

One of the best ways to help protect Wisconsin waters from aquatic invasive species is by being a watercraft inspector with the Clean Boats, Clean Waters program. Watercraft inspectors are trained to organize and conduct a boater education program in their community. Both adult and youth teams work with boaters to learn how invasive species are most likely to hitch a ride into waterbodies. Inspectors perform boat and trailer checks for invasive species, distribute informational brochures and collect and report any new waterbody infestations.

According to Erin McFarlane, CBCW educator for the University of Wisconsin Extension Lakes program, inspectors are trained to tailor their conversation with boaters according to situation. “There are many different variables that an inspector needs to observe in order to best reach the boater. Is the boater entering or leaving a waterbody? Is the waterbody invaded or uninvaded? Is this the first time the boater is being inspected, or have they visited with an inspector multiple times during the season? All of these can factor into having a meaningful conversation with a boater.”

It’s no secret that practice makes perfect, and experienced watercraft inspectors will find this tailored conversation approach to be second nature. But what about the new inspectors? To help, McFarlane worked with the Wisconsin DNR video production crew and current watercraft inspectors to produce a set of training videos that cover common inspection scenarios.

The videos can be viewed on the UW-Extension Lakes website, and in the short amount of time they have been available they have already been utilized in Clean Boats Clean Waters trainings. McFarlane hopes that they will continue to help inspectors feel comfortable doing inspections. “We want to empower lake lovers to take action to prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species in Wisconsin, and we’re confident that utilizing new technologies and formats like these training videos will help us do just that.”

 

Thanks to Dane County, Walworth County, Golden Sands Resource Conservation and Development, and Wisconsin Sea Grant for assisting with the filming of this video.

 

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