PHOENIX —The Arizona Game and Fish Department reminds boaters to “clean, drain and dry” – and especially decontaminate — their watercraft and equipment before exiting waters designated as having aquatic invasive species (AIS).
This reminder is especially important for out-of-town visitors who moor their boats at AIS-infected waters and are preparing to head out of state.
Afraid you might be transporting aquatic hitchhikers?
AZGFD has contracted with a local business to provide free decontaminations for those with boats that have been on a quagga mussel-infected water for six or more consecutive days.
Call the Arizona Game and Fish AIS Program two to three weeks in advance of departure to schedule a free inspection and decontamination at (623) 236-7608 or Woods to Water LLC. at (602) 920-4891.
“As outdoor enthusiasts, it is our responsibility to be stewards of the places that we love,” AZGFD Aquatic Invasive Species Program Coordinator Erin Raney said. “Stopping the spread of AIS is a big job, but with everyone pitching in, we can all do our part to protect our waters. All it takes is a few minutes.”
Aquatic Invasive Species are non-native species that are often unintentionally introduced by human movement. They do not have predators outside of their native range, and are able to outcompete native species. They can be animals, plants and even pathogens that cause disease in native fish or other aquatic animals. They can often be invisible to the naked eye, making them even more difficult to control. Once introduced, they can alter ecosystems by interrupting food chains, cause damage to boats and other recreational gear, clog up water and power infrastructure and pose safety hazards.
Stop the spread of AIS and keep our waters clean and beautiful for ourselves and future generations.
• Clean boats, waders, anchors, equipment and gear by removing mud, plants, attached animals such as snails or quagga mussels. Freeze waders overnight to eliminate fish pathogens and other hitchhikers.
• Drain all residual water from engines and motors, ballast tanks, live wells and bait wells. Pull your bilge plug and leave out during transport. Store in a location where you will remember before launch; for example, next to boat keys in glove box.
• Dry all equipment that comes in contact with water, such as life jackets, ropes, buoys, tubes, etc.
Under Arizona law, boaters and all recreationists who take watercraft and other equipment out of waters designated as having aquatic invasive species must use the above steps when leaving a listed water.
There are additional steps to complete for watercraft that have been on AIS-listed waters for six or more consecutive days.
See more information on all statewide decontamination protocols, how to schedule a no-fee decontamination, an intro to invasive quagga mussels, and the Director’s Orders lists of aquatic invasive species and waters.