Seal of Dane County County of Dane
Dane County Land & Water Resources Department


June 27, 2019
Pete Jopke, Water Resources Planner
Land & Water Resources


Contact: Pete Jopke, Water Resources Planner

(608) 224-3733,




MADISON, WI – June 27, 2019 - As the 4th of July approaches, boaters across the state are gearing up to spend the busiest boating day of the year out on the water, and local conservation partners are gearing up to educate those boaters about Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS).


AIS are non-native plants or animals that find their way into Wisconsin waterbodies and spread rapidly, crowding out beneficial native species and posing a threat to the health of our waters and fisheries.  Once present in a waterbody, they can be difficult to control and often have no natural predators, so it is important to educate boaters and water users to help prevent them from spreading to new waterbodies. Popular lakes that already have AIS present, such at the Yahara chain of lakes, are areas of special concern because they can serve as super spreaders if prevention steps are not taken. 


From July 3 to July 7, Dane County staff and other AIS partners will participate in the statewide “Clean Boats, Clean Waters Landing Blitz” at local boat launches.  They will educate recreational boaters, anglers, and paddle enthusiasts on how they can help prevent spreading invasive species. Invasive plants and animals found in the Yahara chain of lakes, such as Zebra Mussels, Eurasian Watermilfoil, Spiny Water Fleas, and Curly Leaf Pond Weed, can easily hitch a ride on boats and other equipment, including trailers and fishing gear. Water located in undrained livewells, bait and fish buckets, and motors are excellent temporary homes—therefore, it is important to drain everything completely. Species, like the Chinese Mystery Snail, can also be hidden in mud, making it vital to clean off anchors and miscellaneous gear.


“This campaign has become important in our prevention efforts, since the July 4th weekend draws large crowds of boaters to the water, allowing us to interact with more people,” says Pete Jopke, Water Resources Planner with the Dane County Land & Water Resources Department. “In addition to their ecological impacts, AIS can be very detrimental to ongoing efforts aimed at improving water quality.  Spiny water fleas are an invasive species that prey on native daphnia, a zooplankton that consumes algae in our lakes. As daphnia populations fall, there are less lake grazers to keep algae blooms in check.”


To help reduce the spread of AIS, always take the following simple steps before leaving a boat landing:

  • Inspect boats, trailers and equipment for attached aquatic plants or animals.
  • Remove all attached plants or animals
  • Drain all water from boats, motors, livewells, and other equipment
  • Never move live fish away from a waterbody
  • Dispose of unwanted bait in the trash
  • Buy minnows from a Wisconsin bait dealer and only use leftover minnows when either

1) fishing with them on the same body of water, or

2) on other waters if no lake/river water or other fish have been added to the container.


Following these steps also helps boaters comply with Wisconsin state law, which prohibits the transport of aquatic invasive species and can result in citations if steps are not followed. For those who use social media, you can help spread the word about the importance of aquatic invasive species prevention by posting photos and messages using #CleanBoatsCleanWaters.


For more information, contact:

Pete Jopke-Water Resources Planner, Dane County Land & Water Resources Department (608) 224-3733,


To learn more about invasive species and their impacts to Wisconsin’s waters and economy, visit and search “Invasive Species.”


About Dane County Land & Water Resources Department

The Dane County Land & Water Resources Department works to protect and enhance Dane County’s natural, cultural, and historic resources. It provides the county’s residents with a broad array of accessible, high quality resource-based recreational services and facilities, and supports residents, communities, local governments and other agencies and organizations in their resource management and protection activities.