Dane County Asks Area Recreationists for Help Preventing the Spread of Aquatic Invasive Species

May 23, 2014
Pete Jopke (608-279-3549)
Land & Water Resources

(Madison, WI)  After such a long and hard winter, Dane County residents are enthusiastically resuming their favorite fun activities on and near the water. Dane County Executive Joe Parisi offered a few reminders to area boaters and anglers as summer boating and fishing begin in earnest.

 

“Dane County staff have been hard at work to get our boat landings, park shelters, and other county facilities in top shape for summer recreation,” said Dane County Executive Joe Parisi. “Our fantastic seasonal staff are ready to assist boaters, anglers, and others in enjoying Dane County waters and preventing the spread of aquatic invasive species.”

 

This is the fourth year that the county’s “Clean Boats, Clean Waters” program has been working with boaters at Dane County boat landings during the summer months.  The program uses  trained watercraft inspectors to show boaters where invasives are most likely to hitch a ride and encourage boaters to check their equipment before they enter the water.  This education campaign results in more than 4,600 boater contacts each year.  Inspectors have been at the landings since the second weekend in May, so maybe you’ve met them already.

County staff and volunteers assist boaters in inspecting their boats and following the aquatic invasives prevention steps:

  • INSPECT your boat, trailer, and equipment.
  • REMOVE any attached aquatic plants or animals (before launching, after loading, and before transporting on a public highway)
  • DRAIN all water from boats, motors and all equipment
  • NEVER MOVE live fish away from a waterbody.
  • DISPOSE of unwanted bait in the trash.
  • BUY minnows from a licensed 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.)

Invasive species can alter ecological relationships among native species and can disrupt native fisheries,  degrade water quality, and gobble up food sources for native organisms.  Everyone who lives and recreates in Dane County can help preserve the economic value of our water resources and ecosystem functions by helping to prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species.  Invasive species currently in Dane County’s lakes include plants such as the Eurasian water-milfoil and curly-leaf pondweed and aquatic life such as the common carp, spiny water flea, and the rusty crayfish. 

Dane County’s aquatic invasive removal stations are now available to assist boaters  at Lake Farm, Goodland,  Babcock, and Fish Camp County Parks; and at Olbrich Park and Olin Park in the City of Madison.  Each location has designated areas near the boat launches with signage and tools to help boaters remove aquatic vegetation and organisms from their boat and trailers as they exit the water.  

Taking proper prevention steps while accessing Dane County’s famed trout streams is especially important now that the New Zealand Mud Snail was found in Black Earth Creek in 2013.  Take these prevention steps after leaving the water to keep Wisconsin streams healthy:

  • Inspect and remove all mud and debris that might harbor snails from your boots, waders, boats and other gear with a stiff brush. If possible, rinse with tap water before leaving the water.
  • If possible, let your gear freeze for 6-8 hours or completely dry for five days as the mud snails can live out of water in a damp environment for five days.
  • Drain water from boat, motor, bilge, decoys and other water containing devices before leaving water access (before launching, after loading and before transporting on a public highway).
  • Consider having a second pair of waders or boots if it may not be practical to clean your waders when moving from one stream to another.
  • To volunteer at the boat landings to help prevent the spread of aquatic invasives, contact Dane County staff at lakes@countyofdane.com

 

 

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