Aquatic Invasive Species In The Lakes Area
In the article “Invasive Species: State Resources – Iowa”, it states that there are 318 invasive plants in Iowa. There are also 62 nonindigenous aquatic species, including many of the fish that are in the lakes around our area.
Because most invasive species are bad for various ecosystems, we have to keep them out of our lakes. It is important for us to go to all extents to try and keep invasive species out of our area. In Iowa some lakes have been taken over by aquatic invasive species. “Bluegill Lake is the state’s fourth lake confirmed to have zebra mussels. Clear Lake, Lake Delhi, and Rathbun Lake are the others (Invasive Species: State Resources – Iowa).” There also many different non-aquatic invasive species, but the importance of the lakes in the Okoboji area makes aquatic species important to this population.
In “Aquatic Invasive Species” it tells us that there are many concerns about aquatic invasive species, the two most common being Eurasian watermilfoil and zebra mussels. Eurasian watermilfoil forms a thick mat of weeds that prevents boating, swimming, and fishing, which would be horrible in our area because the lakes are the tourist attraction here and no tourists would want to come to a lake where you can’t do anything. Zebra mussels basically cover all of the hard surfaces in a lake and even cover the native mussels so that most of the native mussels couldn’t survive anymore. Every time you would put your anchor down to fish or some other reason it would become covered in zebra mussels. If you accidently touched the bottom of the lake fishing, your line would be covered in them; zebra mussels aren’t too pleasant to step on either! If you are swimming and go to stand up in the shallow water there is a high chance that you’ll step down on a sharp zebra mussel.
Both of these aquatic invasive species would have a very enormous negative effect on our community; therefore, this is why we have to go to all extents to keep them out of our area. The DNR has already done a lot to try to prevent the aquatic species from coming into our lakes. In the article “Fighting Invasive Species” it states all of the different ways the Iowa DNR stops aquatic invasive species from coming into our lakes such as checking boats for any visible hitchhikers, conducting surveys, and trying to treat the already infested lakes. The DNR even made a law against putting invasive aquatic species in lakes. “Aquatic Invasive Species Law- It is illegal to possess, introduce, purchase, sell, or transport aquatic invasive species in Iowa except when a species is being removed from watercraft and equipment, is caught and immediately killed or returned to the water from which it came, or is being transported in a sealed container for identification purposes.
It is also illegal to introduce any live fish, except for hooked bait, into public waters” (Fighting Invasive Species.). Whenever you go to one of the more popular boat docks and go to put your boat in there is usually a DNR worker there that just quickly checks over your boat for visible aquatic species and then puts a sticker on your hoist if you are all clear. “For the past four summers, three DNR Water Patrol Officers have been stationed on boat ramps to educate boaters about the threat of AIS. While on the boat ramps these officers are also inspecting boats and trailers for any signs they are carrying AIS. But with 12 major boat ramps and three officers, many boat ramps are left uncovered” (Aquatic Invasive Species).
So if you go to one of the less popular boat docks and you have been to other lakes that are filled with aquatic invasive species make sure to follow these steps: in the article “Fighting Invasive Species” it states all of the different ways the Iowa DNR stops aquatic invasive species from coming into our lakes such as checking boats for any visible hitchhikers, conducting surveys, and trying to treat the already infested lakes. The DNR puts up billboards because we are raising awareness of this problem. One of the DNR’s problems are understaffing. If you have ever wanted to volunteer for the sake of the lakes and community you can go to http://www.iagreatlakes.com/preserving-the-lakes/igla-alerts/ and read about what you can do and how you can get involved. “Our experience is that 99% of the boats and trailers coming to the Iowa Great Lakes are free of Aquatic Invasive Species. However, we need to be vigilant for that one percent that could bring Eurasian milfoil or zebra mussels to our lakes. Boater education will pay dividends even when a DNR officer or volunteer is not at the boat ramp (Aquatic Invasive Species).” It is important for us to go to all extents to try and keep invasive species out of our area.
I have told you many reasons such as the lakes being ruined and the decline our community would face. I hope you are now educated about aquatic invasive species and now you can try and help preventing them from coming into our lakes. Works Cited “Aquatic Invasive Species.” Petersen, Phil. Iagreatlakes.com. Iowa Great Lakes Association, n.d. Web. 30 Jan.
Iowa DNR, n.d. Web. 30 Jan. 2013.
USDA, 29 Nov. 2012. Web. 30 Jan. 2013.