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).