Danielle Hilbrich from the IISG aquatic invasive species (AIS) outreach team attended the Indianapolis Boat, Sport, and Travel Show at the Indiana State Fair Grounds in Indianapolis, IN, February 15-17. Danielle teamed up with the Indiana DNR to host a booth and educate recreational water users about the dangers posed by invasive species. Danielle talked with more than 800 attendees about AIS, and handed out hundreds of stickers and brochures. Many show attendees regularly boat on lakes infested with invasive species and were aware of problems that Zebra Mussels, Eurasian Watermilfoil, Hydrilla, and other invasive species can cause for aquatic ecosystems.
Attendees were educated about the proper techniques to prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species, which include these simple steps: INSPECT and REMOVE any aquatic plants or animals from boats and recreational equipment, DRAIN all water from equipment, DISPOSE of unwanted live bait or fish into the trash, DRY equipment thoroughly, and never release organisms from one waterbody to another. One show-goer was surprised to find out that dumping bait in the trash was a way to prevent the spread of invasive species, and several others were glad to learn just how easy it could be to help keep these species from spreading to other waterways.
The Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant AIS outreach team is part of the Illinois Natural History Survey Lake Michigan Biological Station.