URBANA – In the fight for holding the line on aquatic invasive species, it is crucial to make sure people are not accidentally transporting these organisms by not removing them from their boats. Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant (IISG) and the Northeast Illinois Invasive Plant Partnership (NIIPP) have officially launched their “Clean Boats, Clean Waters” program, which aims to inform boaters of preventative measures.

“To quote Benjamin Franklin, ‘An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,’” said Cathy McGlynn, the NIIPP coordinator. “And that definitely is the case with invasive species.”
Clean Boats, Clean Waters representatives will be at Hammond Marina on July 16-17, the East Chicago Marina on July 23-24, and the Illiana Yacht Club/Wolf Lake on July 30-31. During these times, McGlynn said they will quickly talk with boaters about the program, as well as give them a brochure and sticker that give tips on keeping boats and equipment clean. She added that the first outreach trip was done on July 2-3 at North Point Marina in Winthrop Harbor.

“The majority of the boaters were responsive, and a good number of them already take precautions, which is great,” McGlynn said, adding that they talked to more than 100 people each day.

Since this is the program’s pilot year in both Illinois and Indiana, it will only be in one county in each state for the first two years. However, NIIPP and IISG are hoping to partner with more organizations to make the program self-sustaining, as well as extend the program across more counties in the two states. This effort has been already implemented in Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan.

To volunteer or for more information, e-mail McGlynn at cathy.mcglynn@niipp.net.