The North Dakota Game and Fish Department’s effort to stop the introduction and spread of aquatic nuisance species in waters across the state is ongoing and getting stronger.
Ben Holen, Department ANS coordinator, said that while Lake LaMoure was added in 2020 to a short list of waters with zebra mussels in the state, North Dakota is fortunate to have low numbers of aquatic nuisance species.
“And we want to keep it that way,” Holen said. “We have great water resources here in North Dakota, but we stand to lose some of that if aquatic nuisance species spread into our lakes and rivers.”
Holen said the boat inspections take less than 5 minutes.
“The inspectors will ask a series of questions to assess the risk of your watercraft and from there, inspect your watercraft and remove any high-risk scenarios so that your biological risk of your watercraft is low when exiting or entering a water body,” he said.
Preventing the Spread of Aquatic Nuisance Species
ANS Boat Cleaning Station
North Dakota anglers, water recreationists and anyone working in lakes or streams are reminded to follow these simple regulations to help prevent the spread of aquatic nuisance species.
Know the laws, as each state and province have their own rules and regulations. North Dakota regulations include:
- Do not import live aquatic bait.
- Use only legal bait species.
- Transport live bait in containers of five gallons or less.
- Properly dispose of unused bait.
- Drain water and remove vegetation from all equipment when leaving a waterbody.
- Remove drain plugs and keep out or open during transport.
- Anglers may not transport live bait in water away from any Class I ANS infested water (currently the Red River, Lake Ashtabula, and the Sheyenne River from Lake Ashtabula downstream to the Red River).
- Clean, drain and dry any equipment (recreational or commercial) that is used in any waterbody.
- Clean: remove plants, animals and excessive mud from trailers, hulls, motors and other equipment such as fishing gear and watersports equipment.
- Drain: drain all water, including bilges, livewells and bait buckets.
- Dry: allow all equipment to dry completely or decontaminate before using again. If necessary, use sponges or towels to remove excess water and allow compartments to dry.
- Report any plant or animal that seems out of place.
- Visit the online reporting form at the Game and Fish website, gf.nd.gov.
Also, North Dakota boaters who are traveling to or through other states or Canadian provinces, are reminded to check the aquatic nuisance species regulations of their destination, to make sure they are in compliance.
Mandatory boat inspections may be required along highways or at lakes based on destination or route taken. In general, to ensure compliance, boaters are encouraged to clean, drain and dry equipment.