Section 1: Aquatic Invasive Species Background
In this section, you covered:
Aquatic invasive species, sometimes referred to as “biological pollutants” disrupt the food web in several ways, including reducing food available for native species and preying directly upon native species. They are costly to manage and have led to a severe loss of biodiversity in the Great Lakes region, nation and the world.
A variety of terms are used to describe species that adversely impact ecosystems, including:
- Non-native species
- Invasive species
- Aquatic invasive species
- Aquatic nuisance species
Learning to identify fish, invertebrates (crustaceans), microscopic organisms, and aquatic plants is essential to controlling the spread of invasive species.
Pathways of introduction:
It is often impossible to pinpoint how exactly an organism was introduced. Some specific pathways include recreational boating, improper disposal, commercial shipping and commercial operations. Marinas and boaters both play a role in preventing further spread.
Impacts of AIS:
Invasive species have created tremendous problems for natural resources, the economy, and human health.
Section 2: Role of the Marina Operator in AIS Prevention
In this section, you covered:
Providing educational materials and promoting learning about AIS:
Marina operators and public launch managers are uniquely positioned to inform boaters of AIS-related best management practices. Encouraging the use of these practices may help slow the spread of aquatic invasive species and diseases.
Inspection and cleaning guidance to give to boaters and staff:
Communicate with boaters and staff that proper inspection of watercraft involves cleaning, draining and drying vessels, trailers and other equipment. Protocols for these activities have been outlined by the Stop Aquatic Hitchhikers!TM.
Encouraging boaters to wash and dry equipment:
Rinsing the boat, trailer, and equipment with high-pressure, hot water is preferred. Boaters should dry everything for five days, unless otherwise required by local or state laws. Wide use of chemicals for treating watercraft and recreational equipment is NOT recommended.
Providing a boat wash area:
Boat washing stations help remove aquatic invasive species from the exterior of boats, trailers, and other equipment. Marina facilities typically use one of three types of washing stations: fixed with full drainage system, fixed with wand system, and portable.
Train marina maintenance staff to provide services to assist with proper hull washing and dry-well inspection.
Reporting suspected new invasive species:
Marina operators, staff and boaters can play an important role in AIS management by reporting any new invasive species or the spread of existing invasive species to new locations.
Seeking out additional information and resources:
A wide range of AIS resources are available to marina operators and boaters. Contact your state natural resources offices or Sea Grant program for resources, including publications, signs and curriculum materials.