Michigan observed Aquatic Invasive Species Awareness Week by hosting education and outreach events at 79 different locations across the state as part of the sixth annual Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) Landing Blitz.
The focus on AIS continues through August, as teams of students use mobile boat washing systems to clean boats of any invasive species that could be transferred from lake to lake. Mobile crews are scheduled to be at 26 locations between July 11 and August 11.
The students also act as educators delivering prevention-based messaging to prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species across the Great Lakes. This messaging is characterized by "Clean, Drain, and Dry" that empowers boaters to clean their boats of any plant-life or materials, drain their ballast water, and dry their vessels out before taking them to different water bodies.
"We mainly focus on the outreach side of things because we want boaters to know they can effectively clean their boats, even when we're not there," said Kevin Walters, an EGLE aquatic biologist who helps run both the Landing Blitz and the Mobile Boat Wash programs. "Everyone should know that they have a part to play in helping prevent the spread of invasive species and a key component to protecting our natural resources is education."
Aquatic Invasive Species Awareness Week (June 30 through July 7), during which the Landing Blitz took place, was sponsored by the EGLE Water Resources Division, in partnership with other state and federal agencies and private and nonprofit organizations. For more information about AIS, visit Michigan's invasive species website.