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By AZGFD 

Stop The Spread Of Harmful Invasive Species

Help Stop The Spread Of Harmful Invasive Species

 
National Invasive Species Awareness Week

Did you know that invasive quagga mussels cause millions of dollars in damage to boat motors, docks and water intake systems? Or that unwanted turtles, tortoises, and other pets illegally released into the wild can hurt our native species by introducing disease or outcompeting them for habitat and food?

Awareness Week

The Arizona Game and Fish Department (AZGFD) participated in National Invasive Species Awareness Week, which ran through the beginning of March. The nationwide event aimed to educate the public about the harmful impact of invasive animals, plants and other organisms. During the week, AZGFD posted information highlighting some of the invasive species in Arizona, and how people can help slow their spread.

"Taking a few minutes to clean your gear, especially footwear, after use is one of the best ways to protect Arizona's waters and fisheries regardless if you are in an AIS-affected water or not," said Kate Dukette, Aquatic Invasive Species Coordinator for AZGFD.

Ways To Help

AZGFD and the North American Invasive Species Management Association encourage people to help in the following ways:

Learn about invasive species, especially those found in this region. AZGFD's website and the National Invasive Species Information Center are both resources.

Boaters and anglers should remember to clean, drain and dry your boat (and leave the plug out) before moving to another water. This helps stop the spread of quagga mussels and other aquatic invasive species. It's not just a good practice, it's the law. http://www.azgfd.gov/AIS

Anglers should clean and dry their gear. Don't forget to clean those wading boots. Never transport live fish from one body of water to another. AZGFD AIS Angler Recommendations & StopAIS.org

Don't release pets into the wild. It is illegal for pet owners who no longer wish to care for their exotic pets to release them into the wild, or dump their aquariums into bodies of water, potentially harming local ecosystems. DontLetItLoose.com

Land recreationists should clean their hiking boots, off-road vehicles and other gear to stop invasive species from hitching a ride to a new location. Learn more at PlayCleanGo.org

Campers should not move firewood. Instead, buy it where you'll burn it, or gather on site when permitted. DontMoveFirewood.org

Slow the spread of invasive pests by taking extra care when traveling, gardening, or moving recently killed plant material. Buy plants from a reputable source, and avoid using invasive plant species. HungryPests.com

Buy forage, hay, mulch and soil that are certified as "weed free".

Be a Citizen Scientist and report observations of invasive species at imapinvasives.natureserve.org.

Everyone's Responsibility

"It is everyone's responsibility to be stewards of the places that we love so we can protect Arizona's waters for future generations," Dukette said.

For more information about National Invasive Species Awareness Week, visit http://www.nisaw.org.

 

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