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Citizen volunteers and aquatic invasive species experts will be teaming up to educate boaters and conduct free boat checks during the weekend of July 4 at boat landings throughout Wisconsin so boaters do not accidentally spread Eurasian water-milfoil, zebra mussels, and other aquatic invasive species (AIS).

Throughout the Landing Blitz watercraft inspectors will be stationed at many high use boat landings. From July 1– 4, inspectors will help boaters understand Wisconsin's invasive species laws and what steps to follow to avoid spreading invasive species.

During the 2015 holiday, inspectors contacted 23,180 people and inspected 10,059 boats. Inspectors included citizen volunteers, state and local AIS staff, wardens and water guards, and numerous lake associations, organized by the Department of Natural Resources and the University of Wisconsin-Extension's Clean Boats, Clean Waters program.

Inspectors will demonstrate the required prevention steps boaters must take, provide educational prompts to remind boaters of these steps, and talk about Wisconsin invasive species and VHS laws.

Boaters found already practicing the prevention steps can be rewarded with a free boating towel.

'Boaters really like getting these towels. They are useful and boaters deserve to be thanked for their efforts,' said Chris

Hamerla, Golden Sands RC&D AIS Coordinator.

Invasive species can crowd out native species, disrupt lake ecosystems, interfere with boating, fishing and other recreation, and cause economic harm. The main way that invasive species and fish diseases such as viral hemorrhagic septicemia (VHS) spread to new waters is aboard boating and fishing equipment and with live fish or water moved from one waterbody to another.

Boaters, anglers, and others enjoying Wisconsin waters are required to:

INSPECT boats, trailers, and equipment.

REMOVE all attached aquatic plants and animals.

DRAIN all water from boats, vehicles, and equipment.

NEVER MOVE plants or live fish away from a waterbody.

DISPOSE of unwanted bait in the trash not in the waterbody

BUY minnows from a Wisconsin bait dealer. Use leftover minnows only under certain conditions.

Visit www.dnr.wi.gov and search for 'bait laws.' If you have any questions contact Chris Hamerla, Golden Sands RC&D AIS

Coordinator at 715-343-6215 or visit www.goldensandsrcd.org/our-work/water or http://dnr.wi.gov/lakes/invasives

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