The North Dakota Game and Fish Department urges water recreationists and property owners to check for zebra mussels and other aquatic nuisance species when removing boat lifts, docks and other equipment from state waters.
ANS coordinator Ben Holen said everyone plays a vital role in ANS prevention.
“Reports from the public have led to the discovery of numerous ANS populations over the past several years,” Holen said.
Equipment such as boat lifts and docks, Holen noted, are high risk vectors for spreading ANS, especially zebra mussels.
“Zebra mussels attach to hard surfaces left in the water for long periods of time, first settling in tight spaces and areas that are protected from sunlight,” he said.
Holen recommends doing a thorough search when equipment is taken out of the water in fall.
“Pay special attention to wheel wells, right angles on frames, and areas otherwise protected from sunlight,” he added. “Feel for attached organisms that have small hair-like structures holding them in place. Small mussels can feel like rough sandpaper and adults can be as large as 2 inches long.”
Holen said if you think you’ve found a zebra mussel, take photos, write down any relevant information, such as how many were found and where, and report it online at the Game and Fish website gf.nd.gov/ans, or email Holen at email@example.com.