DNR staff and citizen volunteers prepare for annual invasive species landing blitz

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MADISON — The Fourth of July weekend is one of Wisconsin’s busiest boating holidays and this year, citizen volunteers will mark the eighth annual landing blitz campaign by helping boaters learn how they can stop aquatic hitchhikers.

Eurasian watermilfoil is an invasive species that is found across the state. In some waterbodies where it is found, there is a desire to control the growth of this plant.
Eurasian watermilfoil is an invasive species that is found across the state. The landing blitz is one effort to try and prevent this and other invasive species from being moved to more lakes.
Photo Credit: Elizabeth J. Czarapata

The effort, organized by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and University of Wisconsin-Extension, highlights simple steps that can help keep aquatic invaders out of Wisconsin’s waterways, said Tim Campbell, DNR aquatic invasive species communications specialist.

“The landing blitz provides the opportunity to reach thousands of boaters, including many that may not have previously heard the aquatic invasive species message,” Campbell said. “The effort helps reinforce that everyone, from frequent boaters to those that only get out one weekend a year, can take actions to stop the spread of aquatic invasive species.”

Landing blitz volunteers will be stationed at hundreds of boat landings statewide where they will spread friendly reminders to ensure that boaters are taking actions, such as removing plants and draining water, to stop invasive species and protect the waters they enjoy.

The 2015 landing blitz involved inspections of more than 10,000 boats and contacts with more than 23,000 people during the three-day effort. Additionally, almost 3,500 hours were logged by volunteers and staff helping protect our waters from the negative impacts of invasive species.

The 2016 landing blitz is shaping up to be an equally successful effort. Campbell encouraged all boaters to help share the simple steps boaters can take to keep Wisconsin waterways free of aquatic invasive species:

  • INSPECT boats,trailers and equipment;
  • REMOVE allattached aquatic plants and animals;
  • DRAIN allwater from boats, vehicles, equipment including livewells and bucketscontaining fish;
  • NEVERMOVE plants or live fish away from a waterbody;
  • DISPOSE ofunwanted bait in the trash; and
  • BUY minnowsfrom a Wisconsin bait dealer.

Anglers are advised that leftover minnows may only be used under certain conditions. You may take leftover minnows away from any state water and use them again on that same water. You may use leftover minnows on other waters only if no lake or river water or other fish were added to the container.

To learn more, visit dnr.wi.gov and search “Aquatic Invasive Species.”