Three simple steps for boaters to save the Great Lakes

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LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – Officials and volunteers are raising awareness about aquatic invasive species at events in eight states as well as two Canadian provinces.

Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s proclamation marks Aquatic Invasive Species Awareness Week from June 28th through July 5th.

Volunteers at nearly 30 locations across the state will be at Landing Blitz events. The Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy, or EGLE is partnering with the Department of Natural Resources and the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development to sponsor the education and outreach events across Michigan.

The volunteers are reminding watercraft owners to clean, drain, and dry watercraft as well as trailers to prevent the spread of invasive species.

“Millions of dollars are spent each year in Michigan to control the impacts of aquatic invasive species such as zebra mussels, sea lamprey and Eurasian watermilfoil,” said Kevin Walters, aquatic biologist at EGLE. “It only takes a few minutes to do a walk-around of your watercraft and trailer and drain water to make sure everything is clear of material that doesn’t belong.”

CLEAN: Make sure watercraft and trailers are free of all aquatic organisms and plants before transporting or launching.

DRAIN: Remove drain plugs and drain all water from bilges, ballast tanks, and live wells before moving watercraft.

DRY: Wipe down your watercraft with a towel and keep everything dry for at least five days.

Each state and province has laws and regulations related to invasive species. Boaters in Michigan who do not clean boats and trailers or drain water can be fined up to $100.

DISPOSE: If you are fishing, only release fish into the same body of water where they were caught to avoid the spread of invasive species and fish diseases. Additionally, avoid releasing unused bait into the water.

Volunteers in Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Québec, and Ontario are hoping to educate everyone who uses the state’s waterways about their responsibilities to prevent invasive species.

Find an event near you or be a local volunteer at Landing Blitz.

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