PHOENIX -- The Arizona Game and Fish Department (AZGFD) continues to help prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species (AIS), and it seems the ramifications are being felt throughout some Western U.S. states.
During the 2018-19 fiscal year, AZGFD decontaminated a record 237 boats -- up from 159 the previous fiscal year. This increase in decontaminations also has helped some Western states, namely Idaho and Utah, curtail accumulations of AIS. Decontamination (or decons) consists of a specialized hot water wash to kill and remove aquatic invasive species.
Even more, AZGFD recently introduced a new convenience: Those who need to “clean, drain and dry” their watercraft -- a free service -- can now schedule an appointment the easy way -- online.
See AZGFD’s online decon request form.
“During the past year, the state of Utah has received many more advanced notices of boats traveling to Utah from infested waters within Arizona compared to previous years,” said Nathan Owens, Aquatic Invasive Species Coordinator with the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources.
“In addition, these notices have indicated that more inspection and decontamination work had been performed on these boats prior to transport, mitigating much of the risk posed by these watercraft. We understand the challenges involved in implementing inspection and decontamination programs to contain invasive mussels, and have been pleased to see the progress made by Arizona Game and Fish.”
Added Nic Zurfluh, Section Manager of Invasive Species Coordination and Outreach with the Idaho State Department of Agriculture:
“Idaho’s Invasive Species Program has experienced an increase in watercraft inspection and decontamination by the State of Arizona’s containment program along the Lower Colorado River watershed,” he said. “This is a great benefit for Columbia River Basin states, including Idaho. The combined work of agencies across the West is reducing the risk of spread and prevention is a cooperative effort by local, state, and federal entities."
Boat decontamination stations: A testimony to be Herd
Elmer Herd, who in March was bound from Lake Havasu City, Ariz. to Oregon, was so impressed by the thoroughness of a decon of his inboard jet boat, he wrote a letter to AZGFD expressing his compliments for AZGFD’s invasive species prevention efforts. Herd said his boat, by nature riddled with deep nooks and crannies, was infested with quagga mussels, seaweed, and algae.
Upon leaving a Lake Havasu City decontamination station, he said the hand picks, brushes, hot wash equipment and a dedicated decon man overcame the filth.
Herd said the boat was “sparkling.”
“Whatever he was doing, it impressed the heck out of me,” said Herd, whose boat had been moored in Lake Havasu for 5 months. ““It was the thoroughness of it, the determination to make sure it was right.”
About aquatic invasive species in Arizona
If you are leaving an aquatic invasive species affected water and your boat has been on the water for 6 or more days, has any suspected invasive species, or cannot be fully drained prior to launching on another waterbody, AZGFD will provide a free inspection and decontamination. This ensures boaters have an easier time traveling through different jurisdictions and keeps Arizona waters free from new infestations.
See more information about aquatic invasive species in Arizona.
The Arizona Game and Fish Department prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, sex, national origin, age, religion, or disability in its programs and activities. If anyone believes that they have been discriminated against in any of the AZGFD’s programs or activities, including its employment practices, the individual may file a complaint alleging discrimination directly with the Director’s Office, 5000 W. Carefree Highway, Phoenix, AZ 85086-5000, (602) 942-3000, or with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Attn: Civil Rights Coordinator for Public Access, 5275 Leesburg Pike, MS:WSFR, Falls Church, VA 22041-3803. Persons with a disability may request a reasonable accommodation or this document in an alternative format by contacting the Director’s Office as listed above.