Earlier this month, Deep Creek Lake Launch Stewards intercepted three boats carrying aquatic invasive species that were seeking to launch into the lake. While conducting vessel inspections, stewards noticed zebra mussels on two boats and hydrilla on a third.
The stewards informed the owners, who cooperatively agreed to properly clean and decontaminate their boats at local marinas, and be inspected again, before launching into the lake.
Two of the boats arrived at the lake July 2. The first boat had recently been on Cheat Lake in West Virginia and had an invasive plant Hydrilla verticillata attached to the boat motor. The second vessel, a pontoon boat, had recently been on the Ohio River in Ohio and had invasive shellfish, zebra mussels — Dreissena polymorpha — attached to the hull and motor. A third boat, also with attached zebra mussels, arrived at the Deep Creek Lake State Park boat ramp July 5 having previously been on Geist Reservoir in Indiana.
The Launch Steward Program is a cooperative effort between Garrett College’s Natural Resource and Wildlife Technology program and the Maryland Department of Natural Resources. Stewards conduct voluntary boat inspections and educate the public about aquatic invasive species and are the best line of defense against thwarting future introductions of aquatic invasive species into Deep Creek Lake.
These recent interceptions highlight the importance of educating visitors and local residents alike about aquatic invasive species and the need to thoroughly clean, drain, and dry their boats and gear before launching onto Deep Creek Lake.