Visual Justification For a Law
Most of my “on the water” outings happen at Sweet Marsh where two exotic/invasive plant species have been documented – brittle naiad and Eurasian watermilfoil. While it may be time-consuming and inconvenient, I recognize the importance of removing vegetation, even the smallest pieces, from my vessels and trailers. I do not want to be responsible for contributing to the spread of either species.
Another exotic invasive species that is very problematic is the zebra mussel. Once established in a body of water, the mussels attached to anything they can causing multiple problems. So far zebra mussels have not been found at Sweet Marsh or any other local bodies of water.
To fight the spread of exotic invasive species, the DNR and the Iowa Legislature passed the following law in 2013. The following is from the Iowa DNR website.
Anglers and boaters are reminded to make sure to pull the drain plug as a boat leaves a ramp to avoid spreading unwanted plants or animals to other water bodies.
The regulation, that went into effect on July 1, 2013, requires drain plugs and other water draining devices must be removed and/or remain open during transport. If you want to keep live bait when leaving a water access, you must replace water in bait containers with tap or bottle water.
Anglers leaving with fish are recommended to put them on ice, whether in a cooler, a bucket or a live well (plug must still be removed and/or opened).
“This regulation will help us avoid spreading invasive species from one body of water to another; through residual water inside your boat or vegetation which remains attached to your boat, motor or trailer,” said Joe Larscheid, chief of Fisheries for the Iowa Department of Natural Resources.
Invasive species could range from vegetation such as Eurasian watermilfoil or brittle naiad to water dwelling animals such as zebra mussels–or even minnows purchased elsewhere. Once introduced into another water body, the unwanted species can spread throughout, often with few or no natural predators or vegetation to control the spread. That crowds out native species; disrupting the ecology of the lake or stream…as well as fishing and other recreation.
Is it worth the extra few seconds to pull a drain plug or clean that aquatic plant trailing from your boat motor? It can cost a couple million of your license dollars…and three or four years of your fishing recreation to draw down a lake, kill out the invasive species, renovate it, restock it and wait for fish to grow back to catchable size.
This is what a boat lift looks like when pulled from a lake where zebra mussels have become established. Notice how you cannot see any surface of the boat lift structure.
This does not look good, does it? Please be sure to drain your water and remove vegetation.
Other things photographed today were a chipmunk, a juvenile female common yellowthroat, and pussytoes plants.