Governor Doug Burgum declared May 15-21 Aquatic Nuisance Species Awareness week in North Dakota to raise the public’s understanding of the preventative steps recreationists need to follow to stop the introduction and spread of aquatic nuisance species in the state’s waterways.
Knowing the fallout of aquatic nuisance species, the North Dakota Game and Fish Department has long steered communication efforts that focus on the dangers of unwanted exotics once established.
“Aquatic nuisance species are nonnative plants, animals or pathogens that can affect the ecology of our lakes and rivers and can affect the economic and recreational value of those waterways,” said Ben Holen, ANS coordinator in Jamestown. “Aquatic nuisance species can really change the ecology of a lake and upset the food web and can be very hard on recreation.”
North Dakota currently has low numbers of aquatic nuisance species. Other than zebra mussels, just a few invasive plants and animals – curly leaf pondweed, Eurasian watermilfoil, flowering rush, and grass, bighead, silver and common carp – are found in some state waters.
To fight the introduction and spread of unwanted invasives, Holen said some of the shared burden falls on water users. The Game and Fish Department encourages anglers, pleasure boaters and others to clean, drain and dry all equipment after every use. Clean and remove all plants or animals from watercraft or equipment prior to leaving any recreational area. Drain and remove water from all equipment prior to exiting designated access points. Not draining water can be extremely hazardous and may cause negligent transportation of ANS to various locations. Afterwards, verify that all equipment is completely dry before using again.
For more information on aquatic nuisance species, visit the Department’s website at gf.nd.gov.