Aquatic Invasive Species
Introducing non-native species into Iowa waters can upset the balance of the ecosystem, hurting the environment. Aquatic nuisance species (Eurasian Milfoil, Zebra Mussels, Asian Carp, etc.) are most often spread between waterways by hitching a ride on boats and trailers. When transplanted into new waters, these organisms proliferate, displacing native species and damaging the water resource.
Summer 2013 Volunteer AIS Inspection Program - Iowa Great Lakes
Our lakes continue to be free of Aquatic Invasive Species and it is the goal of the lake community to keep it that way. The economic impact to the Iowa Great Lakes if our lakes were infested with Eurasian watermilfoil or zebra mussels is tremendous. The economic impact would be measured in the tens of millions of dollars - maybe $100 million. It is critical to note that once a lake has become infested with Eurasian watermilfoil or zebra mussels there is no effective way to remove them.
For the last six years, the lake protective associations and the DNR have used many communications tools to educate the boating public: highway billboards, cable television, newspaper articles, local radio stations, boat ramp kiosks, boater's maps, DNR personnel, and community volunteers. We plan to continue all of these efforts for the 2013 boating season.
Our Aquatic Invasive Species experience has taught us the most effective way to communicate the AIS message is by direct face-to-face contact on the boat ramp. With 12 major boat ramps in Dickinson County, we will not have enough DNR Water Patrol Officers or DNR Fisheries Bureau summer interns to provide sufficient boat ramp coverage during busy boating days.
We are looking for volunteers from the lakes community that would be willing to spend some time on the boat ramps educating boaters about the threat of Aquatic Invasive Species. If each of us would volunteer two hours a month in June, July, and August we would have all of our boat ramps covered. Some volunteers may want to contribute more than two hours per month - that is encouraged.
We are hopeful that the combination of the SCA interns and the volunteers will help protect our lakes. Please join our effort.
For the 2013 summer there will be three Student Conservation Association (SCA) Interns that provided additional boater education at the boat ramps. The SCA interns are provided housing at Iowa Lakeside Laboratory and had most of their meals there. The Lakeside Lab contact for the SCA program is Peter Van Der Linden, Executive Director, at 712/ 337-3669 X5. Email firstname.lastname@example.org
The interns are college students with an interest in conservation and will gain valuable work experience during the summer. Their room and board is provided and they receive a college stipend at the end of the summer. The SCA interns were at the busiest four boat ramps on Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and holidays. Their exact work schedule and boat ramp location will be determined by the DNR (Mike Hawkins). Funding for the SCA interns was provided by a grant from the Dickinson County Water Quality Commission and the Okoboji Protective Association.
How to Volunteer
AIS Boat Ramp Volunteer Equipment
The volunteer equipment includes the orange safety vest, clipboard, volunteer training DVD, Boater’s Maps, boat ramp report form, and 2013 trailer stickers. The equipment can be obtained from
2011 Aquatic Invasive Species Volunteer Program Instructions CLICK HERE
2012 Boat Ramp Report Form CLICK HERE
AIS Volunteer Training
The AIS training DVD - viewable below - or available at the DNR Fish Hatchery or the Maritime Museum provides the information you will need. If you were a volunteer in previous summers the DVD might be a good way to brush up on your boat ramp skills.
If you feel you need more training than that provided by the DVD contact the Lake Coordinator. There might be a live training scheduled that you could attend. You could also work with one of the SCA summer interns to gain experience.
View the AIS Boat Ramp Volunteer Training Video 12:31
AIS Video Information CLICK HERE
2012 AIS LAKE COORDINATOR
If you are unable to contact
the Lake Coordinator you can contact the Water Safety Council by sending an email to
with your name and contact information.
AIS Information Takes To the Air
Communicating Aquatic Invasive Species information to boaters coming into the Iowa Great Lakes area has been a challenge. Many boaters are visiting our chain of lakes for the first time or only visit our lakes once a year. It is important that we communicate that boaters should drain, inspect, and clean their boats and trailers before launching, since we do not have Aquatic Invasive Species now.
Beginning in the spring of 2010 the DNR launched an Information Radio System to inform boaters about the threat of Aquatic Invasive Species. You may have encountered these stations at airports, tourist attractions, and for road construction. The new radio system has been licensed to operate at 1640 KHz. on the AM broadcast radio band.
The Iowa and Dickinson County Highway Departments have installed roadway information signs this spring to alert boaters to this new AIS radio broadcast. Funding for this new broadcast system is being provided by the Dickinson County Water Quality Commission.
Boaters should follow a simple set of procedures each time when leaving the water:
It is illegal in Iowa to:
For More Information on Aquatic Invasive Species.............
See websites www.iowadnr.com/fish/news/exotics/exotics.html and
For the Iowa DNR Aquatic Invasive Species Brochure - click on http://www.iowadnr.com/fish/news/exotics/2006brochure.pdf
Also see U.S. Environmental Protection website: www.epa.gov/otaq/boat-fs.htm
Click here www.protectyourwaters.net