DNR Has Reminders for Boaters At Start of Watercraft Season

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DES MOINES, Iowa -- The Iowa Department of Natural Resources is trying to head off a problem on Iowa waters. The DNR is reminding boaters to take proper care of their craft by removing weeds, draining and drying boats prior to moving to a new body of water.

The problem can come from zebra mussels or Eurasian watermilfoil. They can impact local species as they grow quickly as there are no natural controls on the species.

“There’s a number of different aquatic species that we don’t want on our waters. We call them aquatic hitchhikers. Sometimes they come inadvertently by boat," said Kevin Baskins of the Iowa DNR.

Memorial Day weekend is the unofficially the day for Iowa boaters to officially take their craft out on the water. So, the DNR is advising boaters that this is a good time for owners to check their boats.

“The best way to control the negative impacts of aquatic invasive species in Iowa is to prevent their spread to new waterbodies,” said Kim Bogenschutz, aquatic invasive species coordinator for the Iowa DNR.

“Boaters and anglers can unintentionally spread aquatic hitchhikers if they do not take the proper precautions -- clean, drain, dry -- after each time out on the water,” said Bogenschutz.

"We recommend that it be dried once you get home, either hand dry or let it sit in the sun to sun-dry for five days before you move it to another water body," said Baskins. "Anything that might have been on the boat will no longer be capable of infecting the next body of water you go to.”