Posted by John Ester on May 30, 2017
Jane Perrino is the Aquatic Species Coordinator for the Benzie Conservation District and the Project Leader for the Aquatic Invasive Species Pathway Project.
Aquatic invasive species wreak havoc on our lakes and streams. They upset ecological stability, out-compete native species and impact water quality. Pursuant to a grant from the State of Michigan, the Pathways Project seeks to establish a water ethic.  Thus, the project is responsible for signs at boat launching areas saying "Clean Boats, Clean Waters" and "Stop Aquatic Hitchhikers."
In addition to publicizing the need to battle invasive species the AIS Pathways Project has obtained a mobile boat-washing machine that is moved from one waterway to another in Leelanau, Benzie and Manistee Counties.  Jane and other Conservation District employees ask boaters at launching areas if they would like to have their boats and trailers cleaned, explaining the rationale for doing so. Most boaters agree to having their equipment washed.  Thus this is both an educational project and a hands-on effort to eliminate invasive hitchhikers.
Jane noted that others are getting involved in the fight against invasive species, including lake associations and private businesses like marinas.