Extensive vegetation growth along docks and boat ramps serves as a good reminder for anglers and boaters to follow aquatic nuisance species regulations.
North Dakota Game and Fish Department ANS coordinator Jessica Howell said the Department has received reports of increased vegetation in local waters.
“Aquatic plants can be the most abundant in the warmer months due to a combination of available nutrients, light and steadily increasing water temperatures,” Howell said.
State regulations require all aquatic vegetation be removed from boats, personal watercraft, trailers and fishing equipment such as fishing rods, bait buckets, lures and waders before leaving a body of water. Howell said that means "vegetation free" when transporting watercraft and/or equipment away from a boat ramp, landing area or shoreline. She said time out of the water needed to remove aquatic vegetation at the immediate water access area is allowed.
“Some plant species are highly invasive, and other ANS can hitch a ride in vegetation as well,” Howell said.
In addition to removing vegetation, other ANS regulations require:
· All water must be drained from boats and other watercraft, including bilges, livewells, baitwells and motors before leaving a water body. Anglers can transport fish on ice in a separate container.
· 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.
· 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 can transport live bait in water in containers of five gallons or less in volume. The only exception is that anglers may not transport live bait in water away from the Red River (Class I ANS infested waters). At 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.