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video - Stopping Aquatic Invasive Species

Clean Boats for Clean Waters

"We share a responsibility to stop the spread of exotics.  It only takes a few minutes to do the simple steps ... "
John Ratzenberger (a.k.a.  Cliff Clavin from the TV show "Cheers")

Preventing the spread of aquatic invasive species!


INSPECT your boat, jet ski, trailer, canoe, kayak and equipment and REMOVE visible aquatic plants, animals and mud before leaving the water access. Click here to download a check off list.


DRAIN water from your boat, motor, bilge, live wells and bait containers before leaving the water access.


Many types of invasive species are very small and easily overlooked. For example, zebra mussel larvae are invisible to the naked eye. Seeds or small fragments of invasive plants, spiny water fleas, eggs of fish and small aquatic animals, and fish diseases can be carried in water. Draining water before you leave the access area will effectively reduce the chance that any remaining plants and animals survive.


ICE your catch; don’t leave landings with any live fish, bait, or fish eggs.


DISPOSE of unwanted bait and other animals or aquatic plants in the trash.


Releasing live animals and plants in a lake, river, or along the shore often causes invasive species to become established. Identifying fish when they are small is difficult and it is hard to be absolutely sure there are no invasive fish in your bait bucket. Even earthworms that you collect in northern states or buy for bait are not native and should not be dumped on the ground. Likewise, other aquatic plant or animals that you collect, or buy in a pet store, should NEVER be released into the wild.


SPRAY, RINSE, or DRY boats and recreational equipment to remove or kill species that were not visible when leaving a waterbody. After leaving a waterbody:

          Spray or rinse with high pressure hot tap water ( above 104 F or 40 C).


          Dry for at least 5 days.



Prevention is the only way we can control aquatic invasive species. For many species controls to remove them from a body of water are expensive, time consuming, labor intensive and never 100% effective.



Every time you remove a boat, jet ski, trailer, canoe, kayak and equipment from a body of water. It takes only once to transfer a new aquatic invasive species to another waterbody.


Prevention WORKS!

Testing results of wild fish from 67 waters across the state indicate that the deadly fish virus—viral hemorrhagic septicemia or VHS—has not spread in Wisconsin.

VHS was first detected in Wisconsin in Lake Winnebago system waters in May 2007 and in Lake Michigan system waters in June 2007. In 2007, there was widespread concern that VHS was already widespread in Wisconsin and that it would spread rapidly.

While the 2008 monitoring results cannot conclude with 100 percent certainty that VHS is not somewhere outside of waters known to have the virus, it is apparently not prevalent. The Department of Natural Resources conducted the 2008 VHS monitoring and is seeking a federal grant to help pay for VHS monitoring next year.

The DNR credits statewide administrative rules for boaters, anglers and people who harvest wild bait, and preventative measures taken by the public for successfully working to contain the disease. Requirements outlined in the rule—which went into effect April 4, 2008—are available online at http://dnr.wi.gov/fish/vhs/vhs_prevent.html

Volunteer Watercraft Inspection Program

Volunteers have been an integral part of protecting Wisconsin lakes for over two decades. With so many water bodies and so few state resources, we rely heavily on volunteer efforts to educate boaters about Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) and how to prevent their spread.

Through the Clean Boats, Clean Waters program, volunteers are trained to organize and conduct a boater education campaign in their community. Adults and youth share information with boaters and the general public on AIS and how they travel from lake to lake. Volunteers also show boaters where invasives are most likely to hitch a ride, and encourage boaters to check their boats and equipment for invasive species before they enter the water.


Become Clean Boats Clean Waters Volunteer!

Contact: Erin Henegar, AIS Volunteer Coordinator

Phone: 715-346-4978

Email: ehenegar@uwsp.edu


Find other volunteers in your area.






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