Boat inspections target invasive species

Boaters launch their boats July 3, 2014, at the marina at High Cliff State Park in the town of Harrison. (WLUK/Eric Peterson)

TOWN OF HARRISON - Thousands of boaters are expected to be on the water this weekend.

And on the shore, volunteers will be talking to boaters about invasive species.

It's part of the sixth annual Landing Blitz.

Bob Grishaber says his fishing trip on Lake Winnebago Thursday morning was disappointing.

"I missed a nice one, and just got that one white bass, that was it," said Bob Grishaber, Appleton.

Kaci Baillies is part of the blitz. She is asking Grishaber and other boaters at the High Cliff State Park near Sherwood about aquatic invasive species, and reminding them of the rules.

"You're supposed to drain your water. You're supposed to pull the weeds off, and another law we work with is not transporting live fish. Make sure they put them on ice because usually if you're transporting live fish, which means that they're in water, which you cannot take any away from the lake as well," said Baillies, Clean Boats Clean Waters.

Baillies says the weed Eurasian Water-milfoil, and tiny zebra mussels are the main culprits.

"The larvae form of zebra mussels can be in any type of water. They can be sitting on the outside of your boat," said Baillies.

Baillies is part of Clean Boats Clean Water. The DNR funded "Landing Blitz" targets Lake Winnebago boaters this 4th of July weekend.

"They come from somewhere else, and they may be here for the weekend and they might go home with something their lake doesn't have at home," said Baillies.

Tony Zwiers fishes the lake three times a week. He says the weeds are just starting to grow.

"I power wash. I wash it all off when I get home. Take care of the boat mainly. You invest that kind of money in a boat, you got to take care of it," said Tony Zwiers, Sherwood.

"Make sure all the weeds stay back. You don't transport them to another lake. And the water, drain that out before you go back to another lake," said Grishaber.

So when boaters leave, any aquatic hitchhikers stay behind.

Clean Boats Clean Waters volunteers will be at boat landings all summer.

If you want to learn more about the project, there is a link in the News Links Section of the homepage.