DES MOINES, Iowa (KCAU) – The Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is encouraging all boaters and anglers to check for unwanted hitchhikers on their boats and equipment this Fourth of July to help protect Iowa lakes and streams.
Aquatic invasive species, everything from zebra mussels to Eurasian watermilfoil, move from one water body to another by hitchhiking on boats, in bait buckets, and on other equipment used in the water.
These invasive species can create serious problems for Iowa waters according to DNR officials.
“Aquatic invasive species can reduce native species and make lakes and rivers unusable for boaters, anglers, and swimmers,” Aquatic Invasive Species Coordinator for the Iowa DNR, Kim Bogenschutz said.
These invasive species often grow quickly and spread fast when brought to another lake or stream due to lack of natural controls.
“Boaters and anglers can help prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species to new water bodies by cleaning, draining, and drying their boats and equipment after each time on the water,” Bogenschutz added.
The Iowa DNR recommends boaters and anglers to follow the following tips to prevent invasive species from spreading:
- Clean any plants, animals, or mud from your boat and equipment before you leave a waterbody.
- Drain water from all equipment before leaving a waterbody.
- Including the boats motor, bilge, transom well, bait bucket
- Dry anything that comes into contact with water like boats, trailers, equipment, boots, clothing, dogs.
- Before heading to another waterbody either, spray your boat and trailer with hot or high-pressure water, or dry your boat and equipment for at least five days.
- Never release plants, fish, or animals into a water body unless they came out of that waterbody.
- Always empty unwanted bait in the trash.
The DNR said it is illegal to possess or transport prohibited aquatic invasive species or to transport any aquatic plants on water-related equipment in Iowa.
The DNR has posted signs at public access areas to remind boaters to stop aquatic hitchhikers and identify infested waters.
Iowa law also requires boaters to drain all water from boats and equipment prior to leaving water accesses and to keep drain plugs removed or opened during transport.
The Iowa law also states it is illegal to introduce any live fish, except for hooked bait, into public waters.
To learn more about aquatic invasive species, including a list of infested waters in the current Iowa Fishing Regulations, or by clicking here.