December 18, 2014

Leaving aquatic invasive species behind

It’s the fourth annual Landing Blitz. A concentration of volunteers and paid staff is working to educate boaters on the importance of preventing the spread of aquatic invasive species.

Bob Wakeman is Wisconsin’s Statewide Aquatic Invasive Species coordinator with the Department of Natural Resources. He says Asian Carp is a good example of an invasive species causing problems with the lakes. “If we get Asian Carp in Wisconsin, our fishing, our boating, our recreational enjoyment of these lakes and rivers will change dramatically.” And he says that can be said for a list of other invasives.

Wakeman says the invasive species can really impact the economic value of Wisconsin’s lakes, and create extra costs and lost value to homeowners and to state industries such as utilities, real estate, manufacturing, shipping, tourism, fishing and recreation.

Volunteers are trained to approach boaters and ask a series of questions. Boaters are informed about the laws, and this effort gives DNR officials info about the level of compliance and understanding of the laws. “They learn about the preventive measures, inspect your boat and trailer, remove any aquatic plants or animals that might be attached, drain all the water from your boats and vehicles and equipment, and don’t move live fish.”

Wakeman says it’s a busy week for boaters, so they hope to maximize their contact with as many boaters as possible. He offers a special thanks to everyone participating; it’s a collective effort, he says, by lots of volunteers, without whom this could not be accomplished.

This year’s Landing Blitz runs from June 29 to July 9.

AUDIO: Jackie Johnson report 1:54