State Partners with Local Communities to Host Invasive Species Outreach Events at Boat Launches June 30-July 8

Agency: Environmental Quality

June 28, 2018

For More Information:
Kevin Walters, DEQ Staff Contact, waltersk3@michigan.gov, 616-250-8637
Tiffany Brown, DEQ Public Information Officer, brownt22@michigan.gov, 517-284-6716

Governor Snyder Proclaims July 1-7 as Aquatic Invasive Species Awareness Week

Volunteers show a boater how to check for and remove aquatic plants during the AIS Lansing BlitzLANSING, MI. Gov. Rick Snyder has proclaimed July 1-7 as Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) Awareness Week in Michigan. Several state departments are observing the week with outreach events at more than 80 boat launches across the state aimed at creating increased public awareness about non-native aquatic plants and animals that can disrupt the natural ecosystem, tourism and the economy.

The week is highlighted by the fifth annual AIS Landing Blitz, which is an outreach event for boaters held June 30-July 8 at boat landings around the state. The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) is partnering with local volunteers as well as the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development to assist boaters in learning how to prevent the spread of harmful species and comply with current aquatic invasive species-related laws.

“The presence of aquatic invasive species in Michigan – and the threat of new ones – is a reality that we ask every resident and visitor to take seriously,” said Kevin Walters, aquatic biologist with DEQ. “By participating in events like the AIS Landing Blitz and learning more about preventing the spread of invasive species, we can all help protect Michigan’s incredible natural resources.” 

Anyone enjoying Michigan’s waters can help prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species by following these simple steps:

Required Actions – It’s the Law in Michigan

  • Remove aquatic plants from boats, boating equipment and boat trailers before launching or placing in the water.
  • Drain live wells, bilges and all water from boats before leaving the access site.
  • Dispose of unused bait in the trash. Do not release bait into the water.
  • Don’t transfer fish to water bodies other than where they were caught.

Recommended Actions – Protect Our Waters

  • Inspect and remove plants and mud from boats and trailers, and dry equipment before leaving the access area. Dispose of the material in a trash receptacle or otherwise away from the water body, if possible.
  • Wash boats and trailers before leaving the access area, if possible, or at a nearby car wash or at home.
  • Dry boats and equipment for at least five days before launching into a different body of water.
  • Disinfect live wells and bilges with a bleach solution of one half-cup of bleach to five gallons of water.

A short DEQ video from a past Landing Blitz shows how easy it is to clean, drain and dry boats and trailers. Additionally, several DEQ educational videos are available about invasive species.

With recent discoveries of invasive species such as red swamp crayfish in at least 16 bodies of water, and parrot feather, an invasive aquatic plant, in three separate ponds, the week takes on added importance. Many invasive species are easily spread by boaters and anglers who use their equipment in multiple bodies of water without properly cleaning it.

Events at boat launches are contingent on local weather and volunteer availability. For an up-to-date list of events, contact Kevin Walters with DEQ at 616-250-8637.

AIS Awareness Week is sponsored by DEQ’s Water Resources Division, with collaborative efforts from other state and federal agencies as well as private and nonprofit organizations. For more information about AIS Awareness Week, the AIS Landing Blitz or to view the governor’s proclamation, visit Michigan’s invasive species web site at www.michigan.gov/invasives.

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Please Note: The attached photo is available for media use.
Credit: Michigan Department of Environmental Quality
Suggested caption: Volunteers show a boater how to check for and remove aquatic plants during the AIS Landing Blitz.