Invasive species move even in winter

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MANISTEE COUNTY – As clouds often outweigh the sunlight and temperatures continue to drop below freezing, it can be easy to overlook invasive species.

During the summer months, you may be stopped to wash your boat or more easily notice signs that plants and animals are invading. Now, however, our outdoor recreation in northern Michigan is shifting to activities that can be done in snow and ice – the focus on transporting unwanted hitchhikers is dwindling.

Despite this, species like Eurasian Watermilfoil and Zebra Mussels can tolerate – and survive – under winter ice. Without care, they can easily spread from one place to another. They quickly gain the upper hand, altering the function of entire ecosystems and depleting native plant and animal populations.

Following these Manistee Conservation District steps can prevent the introduction of new aquatic invasive species into our special freshwater lakes, streams and rivers.


• When ice fishing, inspect all of your gear and equipment. This includes your line, hooks, auger, all nets, and even your boots. If possible, allow all of your equipment to dry for at least five days before using it again. This ensures that any missed plant or animal material will not survive.
• Familiarize yourself with Michigan bait laws. It is illegal to throw baits such as wigglers, minnows, or crayfish into any body of water. They must be disposed of on the ground or in the trash.
• Also, be sure to buy bait from a properly licensed store.
• If water is collected (for buckets, etc.), dispose of it there before moving to a new location.
• Pack all waste ice and dispose of it in appropriate containers.

Tackling invasive species, whether in our waterways or on land, is a community effort and taking just five minutes to clean your gear can make an incredible difference.

Visit benziecd.org Where manisteecd2.org for more information.


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