Free boat washes to prevent the spread of aquatic hitchhikers

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UPPER PENINSULA– The Marquette County Conservation District is partnering with the Michigan State University Extension to help stop the spread of aquatic invasive species in the Central U.P.

Aquatic invasive species or aquatic hitchhikers can latch onto boats and without properly washing the boat, can transfer into the next body of water the boat enters.

“Invasive species can do a lot of harm both to the ecology of like a water body and to the environment,” said Elise Desjarlais, Lake to Lake Cooperative Invasive Species Management Area Coordinator, Marquette County Conservation District. ” But it can actually do damage to out recreational opportunities and can sometimes be economics that come along with that.”

The two most common invasive species that the organizations will be looking are zebra muscles and eurasian watermilfoil.

The Marquette County Conservation District will be assisting a mobile boat washing crew through the Michigan State Extension in different areas throughout the weekend.

“We have a high-pressure washer that provides a free boat wash for anybody that’s launching their boat, that’s bringing their boat back in and our aim with that is to prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species,” said Desjarlais.

Tomorrow the crew will be holding the free boat wash at North Shore Boat Launch in Escanaba. On Saturday, they’ll be in Alger County at the AuTrain boat launch. And on Sunday, they’ll be at the Presque Isle Marina in Marquette.

If you’re cleaning your boat on your own, the state recommends cleaning boats, trailers and equipment. You should also drain all water, dry off boats and equipment and dispose of unwanted bait in the trash.

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