Author – Molly Sequin; UWEX Student Outreach Assistant
Many boaters in Wisconsin wait all year for their favorite water holiday – the Fourth of July! Temperatures are warm and days are long, making for a great time on the water with friends and family. The large number of new and experienced boaters out on the holiday weekend make it a great time to make sure all boaters are on board with the aquatic invasive species (AIS) prevention message.
For the 8th consecutive year, Clean Boats Clean Waters volunteers across the state will partner to help prevent the spread of AIS during this busy holiday weekend during the 4th of July Landing Blitz. Volunteers will be at landings throughout the state to show boaters how to remove AIS from their watercraft and to thank them for the work that has already been done to stop the spread of AIS. Friendly reminders will be made to those that already understand the prevention message, with some volunteers even handing out Stop Aquatic Hitchhiker towels for those taking action!
UW-Extension and Wisconsin DNR AIS Communications Specialist, Tim Campbell, believes that this event is one of the most important AIS events that happens in Wisconsin each year. “Thousands of boaters, including many that may not have previously heard the AIS message, are contacted on this one weekend,” Campbell says. “The Landing Blitz helps reinforce that everyone, from frequent boaters to those on the water once a year, can take actions to stop the spread of AIS.” Those actions include removing plants and draining water from boats, live wells, and trailers. For anglers needing to transport their catch home, a cooler full of ice is a good and legal alternative to transporting fish in water.
Last year’s Landing Blitz was a success, with more than 10,000 boats inspected and 23,000 people contacted over the nearly 3,500 volunteer and staff hours recorded. The 2016 Landing Blitz is shaping up to as big or bigger than 2015!
Just in case you don’t encounter a landing blitz participant on the 4th of July weekend, here is a reminder of what boaters need to do to keep Wisconsin waterways free of AIS. Keep up with these guidelines and you’ll help Stop Aquatic Hitchhikers all summer long!
- 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 of other fish were added to their container.
For more information go to http://dnr.wi.gov/lakes/invasives.