Going Boating? Be Sure To Clean Up!

"Invasive Zebra Mussels Smothering Native Mussels" by Wisconsin Department of Natural ResourcesHave you heard of zebra mussels? No, they’re not when a body builder wears stripes—they’re an invasive species that’s taking over lakes, streams, and ponds in the United States. A single zebra mussel that hitches a ride on a boat or boat trailer can birth thousands more in a new body of water. And then they spread like wildfire, essentially taking over waterways and often choking out other native wildlife, as in this photo. They can even endanger water resources. Once they are in a body of water, it’s impossible to get rid of them completely.

If you’re taking your boat, kayak, or canoe out on different bodies of water this summer, be sure to follow these tips to prevent the spread of these nasty creatures.

  • Clean

While you always pack out what you pack in when camping, you don’t want to take nature with you. The same goes for enjoying the water. Always leave behind any plants, animals, or foreign objects that make it to shore with you and clean off any debris from your boat.

  • Drain

Drain all the water from your boat by using the plug or by tipping your canoe or kayak to get rid of all the water. This includes any bait buckets you’ve brought with you. While they might not contain live mussels, if you scooped water from the body of water into your bucket there could be invisible larvae in the water that will grow into mussels.

  • Dry

Larvae and mussels die without water and that’s exactly what you want to happen. Let your boat or any other things you got wet dry out completely before using them in another body of water. If you can’t do that before switching to another lake, be sure to wash your boat with high pressured, soap water at a car wash.

Do your part to keep Arkansas’ waters free of invasive species like the zebra mussel by taking these few steps!

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