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County Executive's Office

Dane County Takes First Steps in Implementing its Aquatic Invasive Species Prevention & Control Plan

August 03, 2009
Sue Jones, 224-3764 or Ron Martin, 224-3743
Land & Water Resources

For the remainder of the summer, the Dane County Office of Lakes and Watersheds (OLW) is supervising several recently-hired watercraft inspectors stationed at the busiest boat access sites on the Yahara Chain of Lakes. Along with the DNR water guards and watercraft inspectors, these additional staff will be inspecting boats as they launch and leave the lakes to make sure that they are free of aquatic plants and animals. The inspectors work primarily on Fridays and weekends. Federal funding for these positions was provided through the State of Wisconsin’s Workforce Development Board.

Watercraft inspection is one of the important implementation steps for the Dane County Aquatic Invasive Species Prevention and Control Plan prepared by the Office of Lakes & Watersheds (OLW), and adopted by the Dane County Lakes and Watershed Commission at its July meeting.

The Plan relies heavily on information, education and outreach efforts, but also includes a full range of other strategies and components needed to implement an effective prevention program. The other components of the plan include monitoring, early detection and rapid response strategies, watercraft inspection efforts, biological controls, and policy initiatives.

“Aquatic invasive species are a serious threat to our aquatic ecosystems and economy in Dane County,” said Sue Jones, Watershed Management Coordinator. “The Dane County plan provides a proactive response to address this significant environmental challenge by combating problems caused by aquatic invasive species that are already here, such as Eurasian water milfoil and curly-leaf pondweed, and preventing the introduction of others such as Asian carp and Viral Hemorrhagic Septicemia,” she said.

“Implementing the plan will involve the county working together with stakeholder groups, surrounding counties and the state to prevent the introduction and spread of aquatic invasive species into Dane County waters,” according to Ron Martin, plan coordinator.

Development of the Aquatic Invasive Species Prevention and Control Plan began last October and involved the input of many Dane County stakeholder groups. To help implement the plan over 5-years, the OLW recently submitted a $150,000 grant request to DNR. If the grant is approved, the OLW will provide 25% matching funds and hire a part-time aquatic invasive species coordinator to help guide the process and implementation.

Watercraft inspectors recommend that to avoid accidentally transporting aquatic invasive species to other waters, before launching boats and after leaving the boat landing at the end of the day, boaters should:
· Inspect and remove aquatic plants, animals, and mud from boat and equipment;
· Drain water from boat and equipment (motor, bilge, live wells, and bait containers);
· Dispose of unwanted bait in the trash;
· Spray/rinse boats and recreational equipment with high pressure and/or hot tap water; OR
· Dry boats and equipment thoroughly for at least five days before launching into a different water body.

More information on the Dane County Aquatic Invasive Species Plan is available at the Office of Lakes and Watersheds’ web site: www.danewaters.com