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DEEP Offering Training to Prevent the Spread of Aquatic Invasive Species

The Connecticut Department of Energy & Environmental Protection (DEEP) is offering training for citizens interested in volunteering to monitor local boat launches for the presence of invasive plants and animals, such as zebra mussels. Zebra mussels were discovered in Lake Zoar and Lake Lillinonah in 2010 and Lake Housatonic in 2011. These were the first new reports of zebra mussels in Connecticut since 1998 when they were discovered in East and West Twin Lakes in Salisbury.

The training session will be held Saturday, June 22, 2019 at the New Hartford Town Hall located at 530 Main Street in New Hartford, CT from 9:30 a.m. – 12 p.m. To register for the training, please contact Gwendolynn Flynn of the DEEP at 860-447-4339 or gwendolynn.flynn@ct.gov.

The training will educate volunteers on how to detect and identify invasive species. Volunteers will receive a handbook, supplies, and a t-shirt that identifies them as DEEP volunteers. The volunteers may also reach out boaters about ways they can prevent the spread of invasive species.

The zebra mussel is a black and white-striped bivalve mollusk, which was introduced into North American waters through the discharge of ship ballast water. Since its discovery in Lake St. Clair in 1998, the zebra mussel has spread throughout the Great Lakes, the Mississippi River system and most of New York State, including Lake Champlain and the Hudson River. More recently both zebra mussels and quagga mussels – a related and highly invasive species – have been expanding their range into a number of western and southwestern states.

Like the zebra Mussel, numerous invasive plant species have also been introduced into Connecticut waters. These invasive plants can form dense mats, making boating, fishing, swimming and other recreational activities nearly impossible. Through education, boaters can help prevent the spread of aquatic invasive plants and animals, and with the help of volunteers, we can ensure that boaters across the state are receiving the proper information about invasive species.

Anglers and boaters can prevent the spread of invasive plants and animals by adhering to the following steps:

Before leaving a boat launch:

Clean: all visible animals, plants, and fish as well as mud or other debris from your boat and trailer. Do not transport them offsite.
Drain: all water from every space and item that may hold water on the boat.

At home or prior to your next launch:

Dry: anything that comes in contact with water (boats, trailers, anchors, propellers, etc.) for a minimum of 1 week during hot/dry weather or a minimum of 4 weeks during cool/wet weather.

If drying is not possible, you must clean your boat prior to the next launch. Use the any of the following techniques for decontaminating your vessel:

Wash your boat with hot, pressurized water.
Dip equipment in 100% vinegar for 20 minutes prior to rinsing.
Wash with a 1% salt solution (2/3 cup to 5 gallons water) and leave on for 24 hours prior to rinsing.
“Wet” with bleach solution (1oz to 1 gallon water) or soap and hot water (Lysol, boat soap, etc.) for 10 minutes prior to rinsing.

When fishing:

Do not dump your bait bucket or release live bait into the water! Avoid introducing unwanted plants and animals. Unless your bait was obtained on site, dispose of it in a suitable trash container or give it to another angler.

Do not transport fish, other animals or plants between water bodies. Release caught fish, other animals and plants only into the waters from which they came.

For more information on zebra mussels and other aquatic nuisance species, visit the DEEP’s website at www.ct.gov/deep/invasivespecies.