CLEAR LAKE, Iowa – An estimated 36.1 million Americans were expected to travel this weekend according to AAA, and for those in our area, travel often times means hitching the boat up and heading to the nearest lake.
With that many people getting out and about, it’s no surprise that law enforcement was out and about as well; especially on the water.
The Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) had conservation officers out in full force patrolling the water and area boat launches to make sure those enjoying the long weekend were doing so with aquatic safety in mind.
Invasive species have been plaguing our area for a number of years, especially zebra mussels and Asian milfoil, and because of this DNR officials have been stepping up their enforcement to make sure boaters are properly cleaning their boats.
Tyson Brown, a conservation officer for the DNR says that while most are pretty cautious about cleaning things off, he continues to see many coming off the water and heading straight for the road.
“People get in a hurry when they pull their boat out,” he says, “You know, people are waiting in line to put their boat in or pull it out and they get in a hurry and kind of forget about pulling their clogs out and making sure those weeds are pulled off.”
While it adds a little extra time to the end of your day on the lake it’s a crucial part of keeping the lakes in our area clean.
“The zebra mussels, you can see them if your boats been sitting in the lake for a while,” Brown explains, “there’ll attach to your boat and then if they stay moist enough and you go straight to another lake, they’ll drop off into that lake and then you’ve infested that lake.”
The Minnesota and Iowa DNR websites have helpful tips about what to look for when cleaning off your boat and what to remember as you head out this summer.