Boaters Urged to Help Stop Aquatic Hitchhikers
“Clean. Drain. Dry.” That’s the slogan the Iowa DNR wants boaters and anglers to remember for the upcoming Fourth of July holiday to protect Iowa lakes and rivers from aquatic hitchhikers.
Aquatic hitchhikers are invasive species – everything from zebra mussels to Eurasian watermilfoil – that are transported from one water body to another by hitchhiking on boats, in bait buckets, and other equipment used in the water. These aquatic invasive species can create serious problems for Iowa waters by reducing native species and making lakes and rivers unusable by boaters, anglers and swimmers.
“The best way to control the negative impacts of aquatic invasive species in Iowa is to prevent their spread to new water bodies,” said Kim Bogenschutz, aquatic invasive species program coordinator for the Iowa Department of Natural Resources.
“Boaters and anglers can unintentionally spread aquatic hitchhikers if they do not take the proper precautions – clean, drain, dry – after each time out on the water.”
- CLEAN any plants, animals, or mud from boat and equipment before leaving a water body.
- DRAIN water from all equipment (motor, live well, bilge, transom well) before leaving a water body.
- DRY anything that comes into contact with water (boats, trailers, equipment, boots, clothing, dogs). Before transporting to another water body either: Spray your boat and trailer with hot, high-pressure water; or Dry your boat and equipment for at least 5 days.
- Never release plants, fish, or animals into a water body unless they came out of that water body and empty unwanted bait in the trash.
It is illegal to possess or transport prohibited aquatic invasive species in Iowa. The fine for violating this law is $500. Signs are posted at public accesses to remind boaters to stop aquatic hitchhikers and to identify infested waters. More information about aquatic invasive species and a list of infested waters can be found in the 2012 Iowa Fishing Regulations booklet