Landing Blitz sets volunteer, boater contact records for fifth straight year

 

Map of lakes and rivers that participated in the 2013 Landing Blitz. Click to enlarge map.

Map of lakes and rivers that participated in the 2013 Landing Blitz. Click to enlarge map.

The weather was in our favor, but the calendar it seemed, was not. With our fifth annual Landing Blitz scheduled to bring volunteers and staff to boat landings for just one weekend over the July 4 holiday instead of two, we worried there would be less participation and fewer opportunities to show boaters how to clean their boats and fishing equipment of aquatic invasive species. Boy, were we wrong to worry.  Tom Ward, who coordinates aquatic invasive species efforts in Manitowoc County, announced, “We’re not waiting.  We are starting the weekend before and will be out July 3 too.”  With enthusiasm like this legion, the Landing Blitz reached more counties, more lakes, more boaters and more boats than ever. This year, the outstanding efforts of the 168 participating groups brought their AIS prevention message to 288 lakes in 54 counties. That’s 86 more lakes and 60 more partner groups than last year.  Don Freeman, president of the Chetek Lakes Protection Association, summed it up nicely: “The fight against AIS is getting pretty big statewide.”

 

2010
2011
2012
2013*
People contacted
5320
27,548
29,019
33,322
Boats inspected
2440
11,784
13,759
14,106
Hours spent
1533
5019
6609
5,818
*A previous version of this post incorrectly reported Landing Blitz totals. Revised 11/12/13.

One thing that didn’t change was the complimentary towels boaters received when they practiced the AIS prevention steps:  inspecting their boats and trailers, removing plants or animals, draining live wells and bilges, and draining water from the container holding their day’s catch.   In fact, reported Diane Schauer, AIS coordinator in Calumet County:  “The boaters love the towels.  They were asking for them for weeks.”  In addition, complimentary ice packs were handed out to anglers on some lakes to further encourage them to drain live wells and not move live fish.  Steve Klock, AIS coordinator in Sheboygan County said that the ice packs, too, were “a big hit.”

Some boat launches offered extra enticement to engage boaters with volunteers trained through the Clean Boats, Clean Waters program.  For example, the Berry Lake Association received a donation of doughnuts and a selection of beverages from the Menominee Casino Resort’s Thunderbird Complex – and then shared the treats with boaters.

Oconto County was really hopping! Although it has considerably fewer lakes than many other counties, Oconto County had one of the highest numbers of participating lakes. Amanda Strick, AIS coordinator, reported that every landing she visited was packed.  Despite how busy the landings were Amanda heard from every one of her volunteer  groups that their Landing Blitz experiences were positive. “The Oconto County lake organizations truly pulled together to make 2013 a successful year for the Landing Blitz throughout the county,” Strick said. “Each organization contributed throughout the weekend to provide lake enthusiasts with the knowledge and tools to prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species.”  Amanda also expressed that she could not be more grateful for the support and active participation of the lake organizations in the county.

Elsewhere participants similarly heard that boaters were appreciative of the education efforts and many knew the AIS rules.  At Rice Lake in Barron County, Dan Graff found that 93 percent of boaters were familiar with the laws.  This strong showing, the result of earlier educational efforts, allowed his group to take extra time with those less familiar with the best practices for preventing the spread of aquatic invasive species.

It is hopeful to see the strong and growing concern that so many lake residents have about AIS and their willingness to protect their lakes from AIS invaders.  Whatever success the Landing Blitz achieves, it is a tribute to the efforts of all those who volunteer their time to the work of Clean Boats, Clean Waters program.

More information on the Landing Blitz, including a list of participating groups, photographs, and links to media coverage can be found on our Landing Blitz web page.

Chute Pond in Oconto County

Chute Pond in Oconto County (Photo courtesy of Dan Guendert of the Chute Pond Protection and Rehabilitation District #1)

Entry written by Michael Putnam, DNR Water Resources Management Specialist, and Amanda Strick, Oconto County Aquatic Invasive Species Coordinator
This entry was posted in Clean Boats, Clean Waters, Contain and Control Invasive Species, Education and Outreach, Invasive Species and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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