SIOUX CITY, Iowa (KCAU) — The Iowa Department of Natural Resources is reminding boaters and anglers to take proper precautions to prevent bringing aquatic invasive species to Iowa lakes and rivers over Memorial Day weekend.  

According to a release from the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR), boaters and anglers are reminded to clean, drain, and dry their boats and equipment.  

The release stated that thoroughly cleaning boats and equipment helps to prevent invasive aquatic species from spreading to other lakes. Species such as Zebra Mussels to Eurasian Watermilfoil move waterbodies by hitchhiking on boats, in bait buckets, and other equipment used in water.  

“Checking your boat and equipment for unwanted hitchhikers will help slow the spread of aquatic invasive species and protect our local waterways for future generations,” said Aquatic Invasive Species Coordinator for the Iowa DNR Kim Bogenschutz.  

The release specified that aquatic invasive species grow quickly and spread fast when spread due to lack of natural controls. They can create problems for Iowa waters by reducing native aquatic species, making lakes and rivers unusable for boaters, anglers, and swimmers. They can often be unintentionally spread if boaters and anglers don’t take proper precautions.  

To help prevent aquatic invasive species, follow the “Clean, Drain, Dry” process as follows:  

Clean any plants, animals, or mud from boats and equipment before leaving any waterbody.  

Drain all water from all equipment including motor, live well, bilge, transom well, and bait bucket before leaving.  

Dry anything that comes into contact with water including boats, trailers, equipment, boots, clothing, and dogs.  

The DNR recommends spraying boats and trailers with hot or high-pressure water or drying boats and equipment for at least five days before transferring them to another location.  

Failure to take protective measures can result in legal consequences, as it is illegal to possess, or transport prohibited aquatic invasive species. Transporting any aquatic plants or water-related equipment is also illegal in Iowa.  

Boaters must drain all water from boats and equipment before leaving a water access, and they are required to keep drain plugs removed or opened while transporting them to a different location. It is illegal to introduce any live fish into public waters with the exception of hook bait.  

For more information about aquatic invasive species and a list of infested waters, click here.