NEW YORK — As the boating season gets underway, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) is reminding boaters to clean, drain and dry their watercraft and equipment to help protect New York's waters from aquatic invasive species.
According to the DEC, boater traffic increased by nearly 20 percent last year, and more boaters are expected to hit the water this season. The DEC says the increase in boats brings with it the increased risk of introducing aquatic invasive species to the waterways.
By taking protective measures, the DEC says the risk can be significantly reduced. Some of these proactive steps include cleaning off fishing tackle, removing aquatic vegetation from rudders, disinfecting boat hulls and water compartments, and properly disposing of bait.
"Aquatic invasive species like zebra mussels, spiny waterflea, hydrilla, and others can be easily transported from one waterbody to another on boats, trailers, and fishing equipment," said DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos. "Protecting New York's waters is a high priority for DEC. Our lakes and ponds are invaluable in providing wildlife habitat, sustaining our state's fisheries and fishing industry, and offering opportunities for recreation."
For more information about how to protect New York's lakes, ponds, rivers and streams, click here.