DNR educates boaters about aquatic invasive species

WAUKESHA COUNTY (WITI) -- The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources wants everyone to enjoy their time on the water this summer, but they also want to make sure boaters and anglers help keep the lakes clean.

Aquatic invasive species can wreak havoc on a lake ecosystem.

“They can displace our natural weeds, displace our fish, so the idea is to protect our lakes," said Kevin Mickelberg, Regional Warden for SE Wisconsin.

The DNR set up a free power-washing decontamination unit at the Pewaukee boat landing Saturday morning, June 8th.

“It raises the water temperature to 140 degrees and we spray the boat down. We get inside the boat spray the live wells and spray the bilge," explained Mickelberg.

The high water temperatures supposedly kill aquatic invasive species, also known as AIS.

“If we get every boater to do that we’re going to make a big dent and stop the spread of aquatic invasive species throughout the state," said Mickelberg.

Mickelberg and other area wardens traveled to all the lakes in Waukesha County to connect with boaters about AIS.

“Aquatic invasive species are not native to Wisconsin, they are brought in from different vectors." Mickelberg explained.

There are more than 160 different types of invasive species which can travel on weeds and in the water column. Authorities are reminding boaters of two very simple things they can do to prevent the spread of AIS from lake to lake.

“When they pull their boat out of the water, inspect it and pull all the weeds off and drain all the water," said Mickelberg.

Some boaters are already participating in the process.

“We do it normally, because we transport to a bunch of different lakes . We do it every time we come out," said Chris Cornell.

“I think it’s a great thing that they are out here educating people. Some guys come from other states so they don’t know about the problem," added Dale Pavey.

The DNR wardens are passionate about preserving and protecting Wisconsin’s waterways. They ask boaters and anglers to be conscious of AIS and to spread the message about keeping lakes and rivers clean.