Fishing and boating season is starting to kick into high gear in B.C., and it is time to remind anglers and boaters that they should always Clean, Drain and Dry their boats and gear to prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species.
The Clean Drain Dry pilot program was launched by ISCBC in B.C. and is now being expanded as a national program. Anyone using watercraft on a waterbody, including lakes, rivers, oceans and streams, is asked to clean, drain and dry all boats and equipment to help reduce the spread of invasive plants and organisms. Information is provided to boaters through a television advertising campaign, social media, and resources at boat launches. Materials are also shared by local lakeside stewardship groups.
Many B.C. residents are staying closer to home right now with some borders closed due to COVID-19, but ISCBC is reminding boaters that they still need to stay vigilant to prevent spreading aquatic invasive species. By moving boats and other watercraft invasive species can unknowingly be brought to new lakes, streams and wetlands.
Aquatic invasive species are non-native species, including plants, animals, invertebrates and micro-organisms that can harm the environment, economy and society. Over 130 different aquatic invasive species have already spread to B.C., including Eurasian watermilfoil, Purple loosestrife, Parrotfeather, Largemouth bass, Red-eared slider turtle, Rusty crayfish and American bullfrog. Many of these plants and animals continue to spread causing serious damage, such as clogging waterways, reducing habitat, out-competing native biodiversity and impacting recreational activities like, fishing and swimming.
Invasive mussels attach to boats and trailers and can be spread long distances over land while attached, as well as in ballast water. If zebra and quagga mussels were introduced into B.C. waters, it would cost about $43 million per year in damages to infrastructure, hydropower facilities, water treatment and recreational boaters, besides having significant impacts on native biodiversity.
“As many of us head out to our local fishing or swimming lake, this is a reminder to take the time to make sure our equipment is clean, drained and dry,” says Dave Bennett, Chair of the Invasive Species Council of BC (ISCBC). “With this small step, we can avoid accidently moving invasive species from one water body to another. Help protect our waters.”
To learn more about Clean Drain Dry and preventing the spread of invasive species, visit www.bcinvasives.ca.