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Boaters reminded to CLEAN, DRAIN and DRY to block invasive species

  • Written by Woodinville Weekly Staff
The Washington Invasive Species Council and Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife are reminding boaters to “CLEAN, DRAIN and DRY” their boats and equipment to prevent the spread of invasive species and minimize the time spent at mandatory boat inspections at state borders.
 
To protect Washington state waters, follow these steps:
 
Clean: When leaving the water, clean all equipment that touched the water by removing all visible plants, algae, animals and mud. Equipment includes watercraft hulls, trailers, shoes, waders, life vests, engines and other gear.
 
Drain: Drain any accumulated water from boats or gear, including the bilge and live wells and transom wells, before leaving the water access point.
 
Dry: Once home, fully dry all gear before using it in a different waterbody.
 
“If you are bringing watercraft from another state and think that your boat and gear may carry invasive species, we urge you to contact the Department of Fish and Wildlife before traveling home,” said Allen Pleus, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife’s (WDFW) Aquatic Invasive Species Unit Lead. “Call the state’s aquatic invasive species hotline (1-888-WDFW-AIS) and let us know where you used the boat. If there is a high risk, we can inspect your boat and possibly decontaminate it at little or no cost.”
 
It’s also the law. It is illegal to transport or spread aquatic invasive species and violators can face a maximum penalty of 1 year in jail and $5,000 in fines.
 
Mandatory Boat Inspections
 
To combat the threat, WDFW is ramping up mandatory inspection stations at our borders and high risk water bodies to make sure that infested watercraft don’t slip into Washington.
“There is so much at stake,” said Capt. Eric Anderson of the WDFW Enforcement program. “Invasive species, like quagga and zebra mussels, threaten Washington’s dams, farm irrigation systems, drinking water supplies and our precious natural resources.”
 
In 2017, WDFW opened two mandatory inspection stations at borders in Spokane and along the Columbia River at Plymouth, southwest of the Tri-Cities. WDFW checked more than 10,000 boats as they entered Washington. This year, the inspections stations will open in early spring and run until late fall.
 
“We are trying our best to keep invasive mussels out,” said Sgt. Pam Taylor, of the WDFW Enforcement program. “So if you are transporting watercraft into Washington, be prepared to stop!”

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