Day at the Beach- preventing the spread of aquatic invasive species

PI 365

Invasive life forms like Zebra Mussels can do a lot of damage in a body of water, but did you know that invasive plants can be equally as damaging?

They come with strange names, like Starry Stone Wort, or Eurasian Milfoil. They are invasive plants, and like weeds in your back yard, they can ruin the health of a body of water.

It is important for boaters and kayakers to check their equipment regularly, especially those who travel to different lakes and ponds.

“We’ve met a lot of people from a lot of different places, West Virginia, Maryland, New York, so we want to make sure these plants don’t go there, and their plants don’t come here,” said Jared McGary, Environmental Educator, Tom Ridge Environmental Center.

Presque Isle State Park has a Clean Boat/Clean Waters program that helps boaters and kayakers check for invasive plants. They’ve helped almost 300 people and hope to do more next year.

“We’ve done it at the lagoons boat launch. We’ve done it at the West Pier Boat Launch. Next year, we’re hoping to expand it a little more, but this year we mainly wanted to hit those two boat launches,” said McGary.

The Clean Boat/Clean Waters program teaches boaters and kayakers to recognize invasive plants and to check equipment with each use.

Kayakers should check paddles and hulls. Boaters should include props and anchor lines. The inspection station at Presque Isle will run until the end of August. Ask park staff about the location the day you visit.

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