Press-Republican

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May 26, 2013

Boaters can curb spread of invasives

PLATTSBURGH — Check, clean and dry.

Those are some of the most important steps boaters can take to reduce the potential for spreading aquatic invasive species from one body of water to another.

Mark Malchoff from the Lake Champlain Sea Grant recently gave a presentation on the invasive species that have already entered Lake Champlain and those that are on the horizon and pose a definite threat of entering the lake basin.

“We are an incredibly mobile society,” Malchoff told those in attendance.

He described the “check, clean and dry” process boaters should use to look for unwanted plants and animals clinging to their boats and trailers or hiding in their live wells or water bilges.

“If people did this, we would solve 90 percent of the overland vector” in transporting unwanted pests.

DRAIN AND DRY

An initial inspection of the boat or trailer upon leaving the water can pinpoint obvious hitchhikers. Many boat launches across the region have disposal sites for aquatic plants that are removed from boats and trailers.

Boaters should also drain live wells and bilges before leaving the boat-launch area. Any unwanted bait should be placed in the trash, not in the water body.

Many area car-wash companies now offer space for boaters to clean their boats and trailers before returning home, officials said. Then, leaving the boat at a location where it can totally dry before the next excursion will complete the removal of most hidden hitchhikers.

“This is a very appropriate topic,” said Dave Robinson of the Champlain Power Squadron, a group of local boating enthusiasts that hosted Malchoff’s presentation. “We, as boaters, are involved in this invasive-species topic, and we can do a lot in terms of prevention.”

INVASIVE SOURCES

Malchoff reviewed several important differences between native and non-native species and between nuisance and invasive species.

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