Pull the plug and ‘Clean, Drain and Dry’ boats
Staff Report~ 7/31/2014
PHOENIX – The Arizona Game and Fish Department wants to remind boaters to do their part in preventing the spread of Aquatic Invasive Species in Arizona waters and preventing damage to their own watercraft. To protect Arizona lakes, rivers, and streams from the devastating effects of invasive species, Arizona laws require boaters and anglers to clean, drain, and dry their boats and pull the boat’s plug when leaving an AIS-affected lake.
While AZGFD Boating Education personnel continue to remind and educate boaters, Game and Fish officers and other law enforcement agencies will be on Arizona boat ramps this summer. They are making sure all boats leaving the water have removed standing bilge water, emptied live wells, cleaned off mud and vegetation, and pulled their plugs to reduce the risk of invasive species contaminating other bodies of water.
“Pulling your plug and cleaning, draining, and drying your boat are easy steps to prevent the spread of AIS,” said Tom McMahon, AIS program manager for AZGFD. “Do this every time you pull your boat out of the water, and you’ll be preventing these mussels from attaching and growing in your boat, as well as protecting Arizona’s lakes and waterways.”
Invasive species have found their way into several Arizona lakes and rivers after being unwittingly transported from one body of water to another. Cleaning, draining, and drying boats, trailers, waders, and fishing equipment helps contain these invaders and minimizes damage to boats, canals, pipes, dams, and aquatic habitats, not to mention native and sport fish populations.
“Boaters shouldn’t be surprised that we’re enforcing Arizona’s invasive species laws. They’ve been on the books since 2009, and pulling your plug when you leave an AIS-infested lake has been the law since 2012,” said Gene Elms, Law Enforcement Branch Chief for the AZGFD. “If you are observed leaving a lake without cleaning your boat, pulling your boat’s plug and keeping it out during transport, you will be cited. Ensuring the health and sustainability of Arizona’s rivers, lakes and stream for future generations is all of our responsibility.”
To view the Department’s watercraft decontamination protocols, visit: www.azgfd.gov/ais.