It's Important to Protect North Dakota Waters

Outdoor water recreationists are gearing up for another season on the open water. With that in mind, boaters and anglers are once again reminded to help prevent the introduction and spread of aquatic nuisance species in North Dakota.

State Game and Fish Department ANS coordinator Jessica Howell said as other states continue to find new ANS, such as Montana, it’s more important than ever to protect North Dakota waters from these harmful plants and animals.

“It’s vital everyone does their part by following regulations,” Howell said. “In addition, anglers and boaters traveling to other states or provinces should check their ANS regulations, as them may be different from North Dakota’s.”

Current North Dakota regulations require:

· All aquatic vegetation must be removed from boats, personal watercraft, trailers and fishing equipment such as fishing poles, bait buckets, lures and waders before leaving a body of water. That means "vegetation free" when transporting watercraft and/or equipment away from a boat ramp, landing area or shoreline. Time out of the water needed to remove aquatic vegetation at the immediate water access area is allowed.

· All water must be drained from boats and other watercraft, including bilges, livewells, baitwells and motors before leaving a water body.

· All drain plugs that may hold back water must be removed, and water draining devices must be open, on all watercraft and recreational, commercial and construction equipment bilges and confined spaces, during any out-of-water transport of same.

· Transportation of fish in or on ice is allowed.

· Live aquatic bait or aquatic vegetation may not be transported into North Dakota.

· All legal live aquatic organisms used by anglers, including legal baitfish (fathead minnows), amphibians (salamanders and frogs), invertebrates (crayfish and leeches) and insects must be purchased and/or trapped in North Dakota.

· Anglers may not transport live bait in water away from the Red River (Class I ANS infested waters). All water must be drained from bait buckets as anglers leave the shore, or remove their boat from the water. Anglers must properly dispose of unused bait away from the river, as dumping bait in the water or on shore is illegal.

· In all other waters not infested with Class I ANS species, anglers can transport live bait in water in containers of five gallons or less in volume.