The summer of 2016 will provide yet another “opportunity” for potentially harmful exotic aquatic plant and animal species to take up residence in new Michigan lakes by “hitching a ride” on the trailers, boats, and motors of unknowing recreational boaters. Now, more than ever, the Michigan Clean Boats, Clean Waters program mantra of “Clean – Drain – Dry”, should resonate with lakefront property owners who are concerned about the high cost of managing exotic aquatic invasive species. The vast majority of new introductions of exotic aquatic invasive species take place at state, county, or township owned public boat access facilities. The best way to manage the potentially invasive aquatic plants and animals that continue to render hundreds of millions of dollars of damage to our inland lakes is to prevent their introduction in the first place.
The citizen volunteer-based Clean Boats, Clean Waters program is dedicated to protecting Michigan’s water resources by educating boaters about exotic aquatic invasive species that are often transported from one water body to another by recreational watercraft, and by teaching operators and owners how to inspect their boats, trailers, and associated gear for aquatic invasive species. Clean Boats, Clean Waters volunteer instructors are also trained to demonstrate the proper technique for removing and safely disposing of potentially harmful aquatic plant and animal species. Michigan joins several other Great Lakes region states, including Indiana, Minnesota, New York, and Wisconsin that currently administer pro-active Clean Boats, Clean Waters programs.
Michigan Lake and Stream Associations and Michigan State University Extension encourages lake communities and/or other stakeholder groups to consider holding a Clean Boats, Clean Waters workshop in their area this spring or summer that will serve to train, prepare, and equip local volunteers to teach recreational boaters using local public boat launches simple, yet highly effective techniques to help prevent the spread of exotic aquatic invasive species.
For more information regarding the Michigan Clean Boats, Clean Waters program, visit please visit our resource rich web site at www.micbcw.org. To discuss the possibility of holding a Clean Boats, Clean Waters volunteer train-the-trainer workshop in your community, contact Beth Clawson, MSU Extension Clean Boats, Clean Waters Program Educator at 269-330-5554, or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.