The battle against aquatic nuisance species in North Dakota got some local reinforcements this week with the delivery of a self-serve “CD3” watercraft cleaning station to the North Landing boat ramp on the Red River below Riverside Dam in Grand Forks.
Ben Holen, ANS coordinator for the Game and Fish Department in Jamestown, N.D., and Grant Kapaun, ANS biologist for Game and Fish in Jamestown, delivered and set up the unit Wednesday, April 7.
The waterless unit, which includes a high-powered air hose, a broom, a tong-like tool for removing aquatic vegetation from boat trailers and a wet/dry vac, also has flood lights for boaters leaving the water during low-light periods.
Anglers and boaters are encouraged to take advantage of the cleaning unit every time they leave the boat ramp, Holen said. The unit is one of four the Game and Fish Department is installing in water bodies across the state, mainly targeting lakes and rivers with known infestations of zebra mussels, Holen said.
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The Red River is an infested water for zebra mussels, and the waterless cleaning unit is designed to minimize the chances of the invasive mollusks or the larval-stage veligers from hitching a ride off the river.
“We have zebra mussels in here (on the Red River), so it’s very important when you pull your boat out to get all of the residual water out,” Holen said. “It may contain zebra mussel veligers.”
The new cleaning station also serves as a reminder for boaters to “Clean, Drain and Dry” every time they leave the river.
“That’s what it’s designed to do – quickly get your boat cleaned, drained and dried in a few minutes,” Holen said. “We highly recommend everybody coming off the river use it.”
Manufactured in Minnesota, the CD3 watercraft cleaning stations costs about $30,000 each, Holen said.
While the prevalence of aquatic nuisance species in North Dakota remains relatively low, Holen said the Game and Fish Department’s goal is to keep it that way.
“We’ve been ramping up our watercraft inspections,” he said. “I think we’ve quadrupled the number of watercraft inspectors we’ve had on the landscape the last few years.
“We're also doing a new digital marketing campaign here in North Dakota, so that we’ll be able to effectively reach new people and educate them on aquatic nuisance species.”
For more information on aquatic nuisance species and prevention efforts in North Dakota, check out the Game and Fish website at gf.nd.gov/ans.