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ANS Awareness Week

May 14-20 is Aquatic Nuisance Species Awareness Week in North Dakota in an effort to raise the public’s understanding of the preventative steps recreationists need to follow to stop the introduction and spread of ANS in the state’s waterways.

ANS are nonnative plants, animals or pathogens that can affect the ecology of our lakes and rivers and the economic and recreational value of those waterways.

State Game and Fish Department ANS coordinator Ben Holen said ANS awareness week is comprised of state and federal agencies highlighting the ongoing efforts taking place in North Dakota.

“Many partners are taking a collaborative approach by reaching water recreationists, cabin owners, pet owners and water users about stopping the spread of aquatic nuisance species into our state’s lakes and rivers,” Holen said. “We’ve definitely seen an increase in awareness over the past decade.”

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