An Iowa Department of Natural Resources official says boaters and anglers play a key role in preventing the spread of invasive species that harm fish and native plants in lakes and rivers. Mike Hawkins is a fisheries biologist who manages the D-N-R office in Spirit Lake.
Thoroughly cleaning boats and other items that come in contact with lake or river water is key, according to Hawkins.
If that’s not possible, a thorough power washing with hot water is recommended. The state fine is 500 dollars if you’re caught transporting invasive species from one body of water to another. State regulations say all lake or river water is to be drained from a boat before it moves off the dock or shore. That includes buckets with fishing bait.
Last year, highly invasive Eurasian watermilfoil was found growing in five lakes in Dickinson County and in Lost Island Lake in Palo Alto County. The plant can form thick mats and kill off native underwater plants that fish use as food. It’s an impediment to boating, too.