Published May 16, 2022

Game and Fish Briefs

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The Dakotan
| The Dakotan

ANS Awareness Week

Governor Doug Burgum declared May 15-21 Aquatic Nuisance Species Awareness week in North Dakota to raise the public’s understanding of the preventative steps recreationists need to follow to stop the introduction and spread of aquatic nuisance species in the state’s waterways.

Knowing the fallout of aquatic nuisance species, the North Dakota Game and Fish Department has long steered communication efforts that focus on the dangers of unwanted exotics once established.

“Aquatic nuisance species are nonnative plants, animals or pathogens that can affect the ecology of our lakes and rivers and can affect the economic and recreational value of those waterways,” said Ben Holen, ANS coordinator in Jamestown. “Aquatic nuisance species can really change the ecology of a lake and upset the food web and can be very hard on recreation.”

North Dakota currently has low numbers of aquatic nuisance species. Other than zebra mussels, just a few invasive plants and animals – curly leaf pondweed, Eurasian watermilfoil, flowering rush, and grass, bighead, silver and common carp – are found in some state waters.

To fight the introduction and spread of unwanted invasives, Holen said some of the shared burden falls on water users. The Game and Fish Department encourages anglers, pleasure boaters and others to clean, drain and dry all equipment after every use. Clean and remove all plants or animals from watercraft or equipment prior to leaving any recreational area. Drain and remove water from all equipment prior to exiting designated access points. Not draining water can be extremely hazardous and may cause negligent transportation of ANS to various locations. Afterwards, verify that all equipment is completely dry before using again.

For more information on aquatic nuisance species, visit the Department’s website at gf.nd.gov.

Register for Game Warden Exam Now

Individuals interested in taking the exam to select candidates for the position of a full-time temporary district game warden must register no later than May 24. The test is at 10 a.m., May 27, at the North Dakota Game and Fish Department's main office in Bismarck.

Applicants must register by submitting an online application through the North Dakota State Job Openings website.

Applicants must be at least 21, have a bachelor’s degree at time of hire or an associate degree with either 2 years of law enforcement or wildlife experience, have a valid driver’s license and a current North Dakota peace officer license, or be eligible to be licensed. Candidates must successfully complete a comprehensive background check and must not have a record of any felony convictions.

Salary through training is $4,400 per month. For more information, see the district game warden job announcement on the Game and Fish website, gf.nd.gov.

May Highlights Safe Boating

A safe boating public awareness campaign held annually in May serves as a good reminder for boaters heading into summer.

National Safe Boating Week is May 21-27, with the campaign actually kicking off May 20 with Wear Your Life Jacket at Work Day. Water recreationists are encouraged to snap a picture while at work and share it on social media with the hashtag #wearyourlifejacketatworkday.

A boat should have enough U.S. Coast Guard approved life jackets on board for all passengers. North Dakota law requires all children ages 10 and younger to wear a personal flotation device while in boats less than 27 feet in length. The law also requires all personal watercraft users to wear a life jacket, as well as anyone towed on skis, tubes, boards or other similar devices. However, state law allows an individual who is at least 16 years of age to windsurf or boardsail without wearing a PFD.

Water users should make sure to wear life jackets that are the appropriate size and in good condition. Failure to wear a personal flotation device is the main reason people lose their lives in water recreation accidents.

Water skiers and tubers should wear a life jacket with four nylon straps rather than one with a zipper, because straps are stronger than zippers upon impact with water. Anglers and people paddling a canoe, kayak or paddleboard should opt for a PFD that is comfortable enough to wear for an entire outing.

It is also important that children wear a PFD while swimming. Swimmers should know the water’s depth, as serious injuries can occur from diving. Large objects hidden below the water’s surface can lead to significant injury.

North Dakota boaters are also reminded that marine VHF radios are an important part of boat safety that should not be improperly used by operators. These radios are intended for boat operators in distress and facing an emergency situation.

Regulations to help ensure safe boating this summer are found in the North Dakota Boat and Water Safety Guide.

Outdoor Projects Can Earn Earth Day Patches

The North Dakota Game and Fish Department’s Earth Day patch contest is geared to bring greater awareness to the environment.

Yet, like Earth Day, which began in 1970 and kicked-started the environmental movement, concern for the outdoors isn’t simply a once-a-year thing. Understanding this, the Game and Fish Department supports Earth Day, Every Day to promote continual awareness about the environment.

With that in mind, youth and adults participating in public land cleanup and improvements will receive the 2022 Earth Day Patch to celebrate Earth Day and their service. Projects that qualify include trash cleanup on local, state or federal property, and landscaping on public property including planting trees, bushes and pollinator plants.

For more information or to request patches for a group’s service project, contact Sherry Niesar, Earth Day coordinator, at 701-527-3714 or sniesar@nd.gov

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