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Landing Blitz teaches boaters about invasive species on Lake Winnebago

Invasive Species sign at Grundman Park Boat Landing on Lake Winnebago, July 3, 2017 (WLUK/Eric Peterson)

TOWN OF VINLAND (WLUK) -- Thousands of boaters have been out on the water already this Fourth of July holiday weekend, with many more still making plans. Among the popular spots is the Lake Winnebago System.

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

It's all part of the ninth annual Landing Blitz.

On the western shoreline of Lake Winnebago, Pete Hibbard says his Monday morning fishing trip was somewhat disappointing.

"Yesterday, I had my limit. Today, I had two that I got in the boat, and lost the third one," said Pete Hibbard, Neenah.

Hibbard did manage to snag some weeds, while taking his boat out of the water at Grundman Park Boat Landing in the Town of Vinland.

"Sometimes this landing, here is really bad, so you get a lot of them," he said.

Volunteers in the Clean Boats Clean Waters Landing Blitz cover the launches around the Lake Winnebago System, reminding people about the spread of invasive species, and to clean off their boats.

"We want them to take off any kind of seaweed that's hanging off their trailers. We went them to make sure their live well is drained. Those two main things are what spread things in the first place," said Dustin Drover, Fox-Wolf Watershed Alliance.

And it's more than just plants officials want to try to keep out of Lake Winnebago. Boaters can also get information about the invasive fish the Round Goby, found in waters nearby.

"The gobies, we're not sure yet. It hasn't been confirmed that they're here. We're thinking they're not yet. So, we're hoping they're not here yet," said Drover.

And as a steady stream of boats comes and goes, weeds of all shapes and sizes are ready to hitch a ride.

"It only takes a little bit. It could be just a particle of seaweed to spread from one place to another," said Drover.

Hibbard agrees.

"Make sure you clean it off. We don't want any more invasive species," he said.

The program on Lake Winnebago runs all summer long.

Volunteers are scheduled to be in the Sherwood area Tuesday, checking boats at High Cliff State Park.

They'll be giving out towels to encourage people to wipe down their boats.

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