Watercraft inspection stations help slow the spread of invasive species

Local News

MOODY COUNTY, S.D. (KELO) — If you’re planning to head out to the lake, you may come across a South Dakota Game, Fish, and Parks watercraft inspection station.

“We’re doing an AIS road check. We’re just looking for aquatic invasive species, primarily zebra mussels, checking boats as they come in,” conservation officer Justin Harman said.

Anybody with watercraft must stop at the inspection station. Game, Fish, and Parks interns and fishery staff will check that drain plugs have been pulled, and that live wells, motors and hulls are clean and dry.

“The thing about these zebra mussels is in their infant stage they’re microscopic, so you can’t see them with the naked eye, but if you run your hand along the boat below the water line there, it will feel like sandpaper, and that will tell you that you do need to get that decontaminated because you do have an infestation then,” Harman said.

The inspections focus on education and awareness.

“Letting them know this is what you need to do, and then even with AIS with me being out here I could also educate them on boating stuff too. Making sure they got their right safety equipment before they even hit the water,” Harman said.

Pat Ronan had his boat inspected today.

“I’m actually really glad to see it with the spread of invasive species that we see in especially, like a lot of Minnesota lakes, some of the zebra mussels, milfoil, things like that are really affecting fishing changing patterns, changing productivity in the lakes, so couldn’t be happier to see this,” he said.

Harman said the inspection stations will operate through September.

The Game, Fish and Parks Department has rules regarding aquatic invasive species on its website.

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