Sen. Proos urges residents to help stop the spread of aquatic invasive species

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LANSING—Sen. John Proos is encouraging Southwest Michigan boaters to assist in preventing the spread of harmful aquatic invasive species (AIS) this summer.

“Aquatic invasive species pose a real threat to the health of the Great Lakes, inland lakes, rivers and the entire state economy,” said Proos, R-St. Joseph. “As families and tourists begin to get out and enjoy Michigan’s waters, it is important to remind everyone of the critical role they can play in the fight against the introduction and spread of aquatic invasive species.”

More than 180 nonindigenous aquatic invasive species have been introduced to the Great Lakes, many of which are displacing native species; disrupting habitats; and degrading natural, managed and agricultural landscapes — resulting in millions of dollars for control efforts each year.

Michigan, Wisconsin and Minnesota have teamed up on a public service campaign to help protect the spread of AIS. The “clean, drain, dry” message asks boaters and anglers to take steps to avoid accidentally spreading invasive species like zebra mussels and spiny water fleas.

Residents can view the spot on the Michigan DEQ YouTube channel or by clicking here.

“Stopping the invasion of aquatic invasive species like Asian carp and controlling the species already here are both important to maintaining our way of life,” Proos said. “With a few simple steps, residents can help stop invasive species from hitchhiking into healthy inland waters.”

In addition to washing boats and trailers before leaving the access area and drying boats and equipment for at least five days before launching into a different body of water, residents can help in the effort by doing a few required actions:
• Remove aquatic plants from boats, equipment and trailers before placing in the water;
• Drain live wells, bilges and all water from boats before leaving the access site;
• Dispose of unused bait in the trash – not in the water; and
• Do not transfer fish to water bodies other than where they were caught.

“Michigan is also taking direct actions to stop new introductions and control aquatic invasive species,” Proos said. “State and federal officials are working to control sea lamprey populations in Southwest Michigan. The parasitic lampreys have been killing fish in the Great Lakes for decades. Recently, measures were taken to kill sea lamprey larvae in two regional streams.”

In May, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service used safe pesticides to kill sea lamprey larvae in the Black River system in Allegan County and Pipestone Creek in Berrien County, a tributary of the St. Joseph River.

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Editor’s Note: Audio comments by Proos will be available later on the senator’s website at www.SenatorJohnProos.com. Click on “Audio” under the Media Center tab.

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