I hope by now that all users of Nebraska’s aquatic resources, boaters, skiers, anglers, swimmers, etc., are aware of the threat from aquatic invasive species. Surveys have shown that most are, but it is always good to keep this topic in the forefront. With recent legislation, our state’s efforts to educate and prevent the spread of aquatic nuisance species will ramp up in the coming years. For now, I found an article by one of my co-workers, Jenny Nguyen, that tells more of what is currently being done. I think you should take a few minutes to read it.
We have a number of invasive species technicians working around the state again this year. I have seen them present at several events in the past few weeks, educating and spreading the word. They are on the “front lines” protecting our waters!
While I am on this topic, let me mention a couple of reminders. First of all, I hope all boaters are aware of the “Clean, Drain, and Dry” mantra.
To emphasize the importance of that practice, let me remind all boaters, and especially anglers, that ALL water must be drained from compartments, equipment and containers, anything that might hold water, on the ramp when you take out. Sorry, that means you CANNOT haul fish home in the livewell, the water must be drained on site. If you are not cleaning the fish right away at a fish-cleaning station, the best thing would be to drain the water from the livewell and then either throw the fish in a cooler of ice, or dump some ice in the live well (Ice ‘Em).
I was asked by an angler this weekend if it was critical to do the “Clean, Drain, and Dry” thing when leaving waters that did not have zebra mussels or any other aquatic nuisance species. YES, absolutely, it is still important to “Clean, Drain, and Dry” when leaving any body of water. Although sampling is being done, it is still possible that a body of water could contain some undesirable and we may not know about it immediately. If something is present, even though we may not have detected it yet, it is important to do everything possible to prevent its spread, just in case. The “Clean, Drain and Dry” process is not that time-consuming nor does it require a lot of work. It is a great habit to start.
And lastly, do not even think about dumping your bait bucket into the water!