Draining livewells can stop invasive species and protect Wisconsin’s Waters
MADISON- Fishing success is tied to healthy lakes, rivers and streams. Anglers can help keep our waters healthy and beautiful by stopping the spread of aquatic invasive species (AIS) by draining their live wells, bait buckets and bilges every time they leave a boat launch or fishing access. When we forget to drain, the water moved from one location to another can transport fish diseases and aquatic invasive species. The statewide Drain Campaign, our annual reminder, will take place on May 31-June 2, 2019 and coincides with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Free Fishing Weekend, June 1-2.
Clean Boats, Clean Waters boat inspectors made up of volunteers, regional aquatic invasive species partners and WDNR staff will talk with anglers and boaters at launches around the state. At many lakes and river accesses, they will also hand out free ice packs and other Stop Aquatic Hitchhikers! Items while they remind people that icing is the best way to keep fish fresh.
“Ice is the preferred way to transport your catch”, says Samantha Lammers, Glacierland RC&D’s Invasive Species Coordinator for Sheboygan and Manitowoc Counties, adding that ice also helps to preserve flavor of your fish as well as stops bacterial growth on the trip home. “Draining livewells, bait buckets, motors, and bilges help keep diseases and invasive species, even ones we cannot see, from moving between our waterbodies. Other ways to prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species include removing all vegetation from trailers and boats after a day on the water, allowing boats and other equipment to dry for 5 days, or using a form of decontamination like steam, or a 10% bleach solution.”
Individuals who love to fish and are passionate about natural resource protection are the best messengers to spread the word to other anglers by modeling these prevention steps to those new to the sport as well as to others who don’t know the law and reasons behind it. Those who use social media can also spread the word about the importance of draining livewells and other equipment by posting photos and using #JustDrainIt.
The following steps are required by law to prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species in Wisconsin:
- INSPECT boats, trailers, and equipment for attached aquatic vegetation, animals, or invertebrates.
- REMOVE all attached aquatic vegetation, animals, or invertebrates.
- DRAIN all water from boats, vehicles, and equipment, including livewells, and any container that contains fish.
- NEVER MOVE vegetation or live fish away from any waterbody.
- DISPOSE of unwanted bait in the trash.
- BUY minnows from a Wisconsin bait dealer.
- Only use leftover minnows when either 1) fishing with them on the same waterbody or 2) on other waters if no lake/river water or other fish have been added to the container.
To learn more about invasive species and their impact to Wisconsin’s waters and economy, visit http://dnr.wi.gov/lakes/invasives
Glacierland RC&D is a nonprofit, grass-roots organization that is committed to wise use and conservation of our natural resources and human resources. We promote sustainability on all levels – environmental, social and economic – by bringing together agencies, organizations and people to work on projects addressing issues of sustainability in Wisconsin. For more information about Glacierland, visit our website at: www.glacierlandrcd.org/