Aquatic Invasive Species Landing Blitz

Boat being checked for invasive speciesThe 2021 Aquatic Invasive Species Landing Blitz is June 26 through July 4

Registration is now open for Michigan's 8th annual Aquatic Invasive Species Landing Blitz.  [Please note - The event may need to be modified or even cancelled pending developments in the COVID-19 situation.] This year's event period will be from June 26 - July 4, 2021.  Event hosts can choose any date/s within the event period in which to host the event at a local boating access site.  To register your local landing blitz event, please send the following information by May 31, 2021 to WaltersK3@Michigan.gov.

  • Host name and affiliation (Both individual host name and lake association, CISMA, etc.)
  • Location (lake/waterbody, county, ramp location)
  • Date/s & time for your local event/s
  • Mailing address where you would like outreach materials sent

As a reminder, the Landing Blitz is a collaborative outreach campaign to raise awareness about preventing the spread of aquatic invasive species (AIS) through recreational boating and related activities. This year's Landing Blitz will build on previous events.  Local volunteer partners will deliver consistent messaging ("Clean, Drain, Dry", etc.) about preventing the introduction and spread of AIS from the movement of watercraft and equipment between water bodies at both public and private boating access sites throughout the state. Media involvement (press releases, local news stories, social media, etc.) will also be used to create a larger impact.  This year's event will again be a Great Lakes Regional AIS Landing Blitz and include events not only in Michigan, but also events in each of the other Great Lakes states and provinces.   
                                                                                                      
Below is a brief summary of what volunteer hosts are committing to by participating in the Landing Blitz.

 

What volunteers (lake associations, etc.) do:
At least 1 month in advance of the event:
  • Select a boating access site/launch ramp and get any need approvals from site manager.
  • Choose a date/s and time within the event period (Events can range from 1 hour on 1 specific date to several hours over multiple days).
  • Assemble a landing blitz volunteer team (3-5 people is a good number).
  • Register your landing blitz event by emailing Kevin Walters (EGLE) at waltersk3@michigan.gov. 
  • Share information about the event via social media, local media and neighborhood groups to help promote awareness.
  • Receive your messaging information and outreach materials from EGLE via postal mail at the address indicated on your registration.
  • Optional: Arrange for a boat wash to be present during your event.
  • June:
  • Tune in to the pre-event teleconference to have questions answered and hear more about the event details. Teleconference information (date, time, call-in number) will be provided to all registered hosts sometime in May.
Just before the event:
  • Meet with your volunteer team before the event and share messaging info.
Event day/s:
  • Set up a table, chairs and maybe a canopy.
  • Talk to boaters and share the importance of cleaning boats and gear to prevent the spread of AIS.
  • Keep track of how many boaters you spoke to.
Post-event:
  • Submit the event survey.
What EGLE/DNR/MDARD do:
  • Handle statewide coordination and promotion of the events
  • Register event hosts
  • Send out packets with messaging information and outreach materials
  • Use statewide press and social media to advertise the overall AIS Landing Blitz event (Specific locations and dates for individual efforts are NOT included, as these can change with weather, etc.)
  • Host a pre-event teleconference call to answer any questions and make sure all hosts are comfortable with the messaging and logistics of the events.
  • Obtain Governor's proclamation of "AIS Awareness Week" to coincide with Landing Blitz event period.
 
For more information, please contact Kevin Walters at EGLE (waltersk3@michigan.gov).
 

The Landing Blitz corresponds with Aquatic Invasive Species Awareness Week, June 26 through July 4, and includes all Great Lakes states and Canadian provinces. The Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) is partnering with the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) to sponsor the education and outreach events across Michigan. 

To find a Landing Blitz event in your area, contact Kevin Walters, EGLE aquatic biologist, at WaltersK3@Michigan.gov or 616-250-8637 or check out an event map at the Great Lakes Commission website.

The most important message from volunteers this year is for boaters and anglers to "Clean, Drain and Dry" boats, trailers and all equipment and gear after each use on any lake, river or stream to prevent spreading invasive plants and other aquatic invasive species from one water body to another. State law requires:
  • Making sure watercraft and trailers are free of all aquatic organisms and plants before transporting or launching.
  • Removing drain plugs and draining all water from bilges, ballast tanks and live wells before moving watercraft.
  • Avoiding releasing unused bait into the water.
  • Releasing fish only into the same water body where they were caught to avoid the spread of invasive species and fish diseases.

Following these simple steps can limit the spread of invasive species from one lake or river to another. A short EGLE video from a past Landing Blitz shows how easy it is to clean, drain and dry boats and trailers.

"Millions of dollars are spent each year in Michigan to control the impacts of aquatic invasive species such as zebra mussels, sea lamprey and Eurasian watermilfoil," said Kevin Walters, aquatic biologist at EGLE. "It only takes a few minutes to do a walk-around of your watercraft and trailer and drain water to make sure everything is clear of material that doesn't belong."

Violations of the state law requiring boaters to clean boats and trailers and drain water can carry a fine of up to $100. DNR conservation officers will continue their efforts to educate everyone who uses the state's waterways about their responsibilities through direct contacts and in partnership with interested groups.

Aquatic invasive species have the potential to harm Michigan's environment, economy and human health. Invasive aquatic plants such as Eurasian watermilfoil and phragmites can crowd out native species and form dense monocultures that limit food and habitat, block access for boaters and anglers and foul equipment such as boat motors and fishing gear. 

Michigan's Invasive Species Program is cooperatively implemented by EGLE, DNR and MDARD. The program's goals are to prevent new introductions, limit the spread of established species, detect and respond to new invasions, and manage and control established species. 

Invasive species sightings can be reported at Michigan.gov/Invasives by clicking on the blue "Species Profiles and Reporting Information" button on the middle of the page. 

For more information, please contact Kevin Walters (waltersk3@michigan.gov) with EGLE.