Weather Alert

Iowa Boaters Must ‘Clean, Drain & Dry’ or Face up to a $500 Fine

(Radio Iowa) Forecasters say warmer weather should arrive by Friday, assuring there will be thousands of pleasure boats on Iowa’s waterways for the start of the holiday weekend. Kim Bogenschutz, aquatic invasive species program coordinator for the Iowa D-N-R, urges all boaters and anglers to “Clean, Drain, and Dry” their boats to protect our lakes and rivers from aquatic hitchhikers.

“Clean off all of their equipment of plants and mud and any zebra muscles that might be on them,” Bogenschutz says. “Drain all the water because that can be plant parts or little zebra muscles in the water. And then before going to another water body, just let everything dry out for five days or if they’re gonna go to another water body right away, then they need to wash it off.” It’s not just a suggestion or a recommendation, it’s the law.

“Our conservation officers are watching and they can see if there’s a boat going down the road with vegetation hanging off of it or if their drain plug is not removed,” Bogenschutz says. “They do write tickets and it’s a $500 fine if you’re caught with with vegetation or aquatic invasive species or a $75 fine if your drain plug is in.” Creatures like zebra mussels can be moved from one waterbody to another by hitchhiking on boats, in bait buckets and on other equipment used in the water. Bogenschutz says invasive species often grow quickly and spread fast when brought to another lake or stream due to lack of natural controls.

“They really just take over our aquatic habitats so that our native plant species don’t grow or they take food away from our native species,” she says. “You’ll see when vegetation just takes over and it’s not only bad for our native species, but for us it’s hard to boat through it, or fish through it.” Checking for unwanted hitchhikers will help protect Iowa’s waterways for future generations, she says. Learn more about aquatic invasive species at: www.iowadnr.gov/ais



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