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Boaters warned of invasive species spread

Brian Meyer/WBFO

When you’re taking your boat out on the water this season, be sure you don’t bring along any hitchhikers.The state Department of Environmental Conservation is warning boaters of the risks associated with the transfer of invasive species. It says invasive species can catch a ride on your watercraft and become problematic for the Great Lakes and area waterways.

More than $2 million from the state’s Environmental Protection Fund will be distributed to 24 projects across the state.

“The best way to deal with aquatic invasive species and the ecological damage they cause, is to prevent their further spread into New York State’s wealth of lakes, ponds and streams,” said Steve Englebright, the state Assembly's environmental conservation chairman.

The funds will help with the training and placement of boat stewards, as well as the installation of decontamination sites.

Helen Domske, the senior coastal education specialist for New York Sea Grant, says there are three words boaters need to keep in mind when taking to the waters this season.

“It’s clean, drain, dry. That’s what we try to teach people,” said Domske. “One of the major ways that a lot of this stuff is spread, is when they put their boat trailer in and hook their boat up. If they don’t clean that trailer, they’re taking the plants out. Those plants could have mussels, those plants could have fish eggs from other species that you don’t want to move.”

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