Clean, drain and dry your boat to stop invasive species

As summer approaches and boaters prepare to get on the water, the
Indiana Department of Natural Resource reminds you to: “Clean. Drain. Dry.”

Cleaning, draining and drying your boat helps prevent the spread of
aquatic invasive species (AIS).

AIS are non-native aquatic animals, plants, microorganisms and pathogens
that can hurt native aquatic plants and wildlife, harming the
environment, human health and businesses. They arrive in a variety of
ways, including on trailers, on boat hulls and motors, on fishing gear
and through the pet trade.

“The best way for boaters to help protect our waters is by following the
‘Clean-Drain-Dry’ message,” said Eric Fischer, aquatic invasive species
coordinator for the DNR Division of Fish & Wildlife.

— Clean: When leaving the water, clean all equipment that touched the
water. This includes watercraft hulls, trailers, shoes, waders, life
vests, engines and other gear. Remove all visible plants, algae, animals
and mud.
— Drain: Drain accumulated water from watercraft or gear, including live
wells and transom wells, before leaving the ramp or public access point.
— Dry: Once home, let all gear dry for five days or more before using it
in a different water body.

Some of the worst aquatic invasive species in other states have yet to
be found in Indiana, according to Fischer, and the state wants to keep
it that way.

Finally, remember that dumping bait or unwanted aquarium or terrarium
pets can introduce invasive species to waterways. Dispose of all unused
bait in a trash can instead of dumping it into the water or on the shore.

“Your diligence will help ensure that the next generation of Hoosiers
can experience the same water activities that you enjoy,” Fischer said.

If you suspect you have found an aquatic invasive plant, fish, mollusk
or crustacean, report it to the Division of Fish & Wildlife at
dnr.IN.gov/6385.htm, through the Report IN app at eddmaps.org/indiana,
or by calling the Invasive Species Hotline at 866-NO-EXOTIC (866-663-9684).

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