As Iowans hit the rivers and lakes for the holiday weekend, they’re reminded to be vigiliant not to pick up aquatic hitchhikers. Kim Bogenschutz, coordinator of the D-N-R’s Aquatic Nuisance Species Program, says non-native plants, fish and animals can destroy a waterway — it’s already happened next door in Illinois. She says there are parts of the Illinois River where Asian carp have completely displaced all other fish species and now comprise 99-percent of all fish in the river. They crowd out all native species and compete with mussels, paddlefish and everything else. Bogenschutz says the first place Iowans can start in preventing this sort of problem is with thoroughly cleansing their watercraft. Clean off your boats, motors and equipment, when you leave the waterway, removing all plants and animals from the inside and outside. Drain all of the water out of the motor, the hull, the bilge pumps and the live well as the “hitchhikers” can be in the water, not just clinging to the boat. Bogenschutz says it helps to stop by a car wash with very hot water or to use a power-washer to clean the craft. She also urges people to not release plants, fish or other animals into a water body unless they were caught there, especially bait. They should be dumped in the trash or someplace else away from the body of water. All sorts of invasive non-native plants and animals can quickly become a problem, including Eurasian watermilfoil and zebra mussels.
Related web sites:
Click here for DNR Website