The county is investing more than $200,000 in resources to help boaters curb the growth and transfer of aquatic invasive species at boat launches on area lakes, Dane County Executive Joe Parisi announced today.
The County Executive made the announcement today at the Goodland County Park boat landing on Lake Waubesa, one of four Invasive Species Stations have been installed this week and are ready for use.
“Dane County is continuing its efforts to keep our lakes clean by offering boaters more tools to curb the spread of harmful invasives like water-milfoil and the spiny water flea,” said Parisi. “I encourage boaters to take advantage of this pilot program for the health of our lakes, and to help us expand its use throughout the county.”
In addition to Goodland County Park, the stations are currently available on Lakes Waubesa and Kegonsa at Lake Farm, Babcock, and Fish Camp County Parks. The county hopes to partner with other groups, including the State Department of Natural Resources, in the near future to expand its pilot project stations to select boat landings at Lakes Mendota and Monona.
Each location will have designated areas near the boat launches with signage and tools to help boaters remove aquatic vegetation and organisms from their boat and trailers as they exit the water.
The stations will include long-handled brushes for boaters to dislodge invasive weeds and organisms. The stations also offer bins to safely dispose of the invasives, preventing them from cluttering boat landings or going back into lakes. Use of the stations will be tracked, and if successful, the pilot project could be expanded across the state.
Funding for the stations was made possible through a grant from the DNR to aid in the county’s implementation of a comprehensive invasives species management plan for area lakes.
Invasive species currently in Dane County’s lakes include weeds such as the Eurasian water-milfoil and Curly-leaf pondweed and aquatic life such as the common carp, spiny water flea, and the rusty crayfish.
These invasives can crowd out native aquatic vegetation and aquatic wildlife. Once an invasive has taken over an ecosystem, these “aquatic hitchhikers” can disrupt native fisheries, degrade water quality, and gobble up food sources for native organisms.
The county’s “Clean Boats, Clean Waters” program has been working with boaters at Dane County boat landings during the summer months. The program uses trained watercraft inspectors to show boaters where invasives are most likely to hitch a ride and encourage boaters to check their equipment before they enter the water. This education campaign has resulted in over 2300 boats inspected and 3400 people contacted since Memorial Day.
Boaters are always encouraged to inspect their watercraft, trailers, and equipment before launching and after leaving the water, and remove all attached aquatic plants, animals, and mud.
Boaters are also asked to drain all water from their boats, motor, live wells, bait containers and all equipment from leaving the water. Any plants and animals found should be left in the water they came from – never moved.
More information on how to prevent the spread of harmful invasives in our water can be found at http://www4.uwsp.edu/cnr/uwexlakes/CBCW/default.asp.
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