MADISON, Wis. – The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) celebrates Clean Boats, Clean Waters’ efforts to prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species during the Fourth of the July, one of the busiest boating weekends of the summer.
During the annual Landing Blitz, which took place July 1-5, watercraft inspectors across the state gathered at local boat landings to educate boaters on how to stop the spread of invasive species.
Invasive species are nonnative plants, animals and diseases that can cause great ecological, environmental or economic harm. Some have already been found in Wisconsin, while others pose a large risk of surviving and causing problems if they are introduced and become established here.
Inspectors and lake organizations noted a vast increase in boater activity on Wisconsin waters in 2020 with a continuing upward trend in 2021. Over the course of the five-day Landing Blitz, Clean Boats, Clean Waters inspectors and staff invested nearly 4,000 hours and spoke to over 24,000 people while inspecting 11,000 boats.
Annually, the DNR invests approximately $1 million into Clean Boats, Clean Waters grants and other Surface Water Grants that fund watercraft inspections and many other activities to protect our waters.
“It only takes a minute to remove plants, animals, mud or debris from boats, trailers and equipment and to drain all water from bilges, livewells and bait buckets,” said Erin McFarlane, the Statewide CBCW Educator with Extension Lakes. “These simple steps help keep invasive species from hitching a ride from one waterbody to another.”
Do your part to keep Wisconsin waters healthy and stop the spread of AIS by following these easy steps:
- Inspect boats, trailers and equipment for attached aquatic plants or animals.
- Remove all attached plants or animals and mud.
- Drain all water from boats, motors, livewells and other equipment.
- Never move live fish away from a waterbody.
- Dispose of unwanted bait in the trash.
- Buy minnows from a licensed Wisconsin bait dealer.
Following these steps 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 the DNR’s Aquatic Invasive Species Efforts webpage.