KISMA preserves lakes with free boat washes

The Keweenaw Invasive Species Management Area held a free boat wash to help educate people about preventing invasive species from entering the lakes.
Published: Jul. 9, 2023 at 5:36 PM EDT
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HOUGHTON COUNTY, Mich. (WLUC) - Moving from lake to lake when fishing without adequately cleaning and draining boats can negatively impact lakes.

The Keweenaw Invasive Species Management Area (KISMA) held a free boat wash for those coming in and out of the Portage River Harbor.

KISMA Crew Member Zoe Streiff said outreach like this is important for educating the public on preserving local waters.

“It’s really important to prevent the spread of invasive species because it can hinder fish habitat and obviously, especially here, we get a lot of fisherman coming in and out and we want to keep doing that for a while,” said Streiff.

When an invasive plant or organism enters a habitat, it kills the native species in the area and can put the lake in danger.

KISMA Member Jade Stadler said invasive plants can impact more than just the fish.

“A lot of invasive plants, they like to form mat-like growths, and that can tangle up boat propellers. No one wants to swim in them. They can also decrease light and oxygen levels of the water or at least change the levels in the water to make our native [species] compete to survive,” said Stadler.

Stadler also said going through the proper steps of cleaning boats before and after it’s in the water can make a difference.

“Before getting in the water, we definitely encourage them to have their boat already cleaned, drained and dried. Cleaning out any bilage tanks, anything that would hold fish like live wells, some people hold their fish in coolers. Make sure its all clean and dry. Some people even sanitize their boat which we absolutely encourage,” said Stadler.

If you notice an invasive fish or plant, do not put it back and report it to your local DNR office.