You Can Help

New DEQ/DNR law as of March 21, 2019 requires cleaning of watercraft/trailers before transporting to other waters.

“Many invasive aquatic plant and animal species move from one location to another with the help of human transportation,” said Kevin Walters, an aquatic biologist with the DEQ. “Plants like Eurasian watermilfoil or starry stonewort can travel from lake to lake on boats and trailers. Just one plant fragment can start a new population.”

Draining boats and cleaning trailers can limit the spread of zebra and quagga mussels, which are common in some inland lakes. A more recent invader, the tiny New Zealand mudsnail, can hitchhike from river to river when mud or debris is left on kayaks, canoes and gear.

Moving fish from one body of water to another can spread fish diseases, like heterosporis (a parasite of yellow perch) and viral hemorrhagic septicemia virus (VHSv), a serious disease that can affect many fish species. Fish diseases also can be spread to new locations when water carrying parasites or infection is transferred via bilges, live wells or ballast tanks.

What you should do

Simple rules of thumb to help boaters and anglers navigate these laws:

  • CLEAN boats, trailers and equipment.
  • DRAIN live wells, bilges and all water – pull all drain plugs.
  • DRY boats and equipment.
  • DISPOSE of unwanted bait in the trash.

And remember when practicing catch-and-release fishing, return the fish to the water where it was caught.

For more information on the new boating and fishing laws, visit the Laws section at

Michigan’s Invasive Species Program is cooperatively implemented by the Michigan departments of Agriculture & Rural Development, Environmental Quality and Natural Resources.

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