Ohio Sea Grant, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) and the North Coast Bass Anglers Association (NCBAA) will join partners at hundreds of water access sites throughout the Great Lakes region for an “AIS Landing Blitz” this week to inform boaters and others of the risks of introducing and spreading aquatic invasive species (AIS).
Ohio Sea Grant staff and volunteers from the Prime Time Junior Bass Anglers will be at Mazurik State Access Area, 8957 North Shore Rd., Marblehead, on July 7 from 2-5 pm. They will help boaters through the “Clean, Drain, Dry” process to avoid transferring AIS from one body of water to another, offer information about aquatic invasive species and provide guidance on what boaters, anglers and other water users can do to protect the Great Lakes.
Information on the Mazurik State Access Area, including amenities and GPS coordinates, is available at coastal.ohiodnr.gov/ottawa/mazurik.
While individual U.S. states and Canadian provinces have hosted similar events in previous years, Sarah Orlando, Clean Marinas Program manager for Ohio Sea Grant, says this is the first time that all of the Great Lakes states and provinces are involved and coordinating efforts to maximize the event’s impact.
“This is the first time that these valuable educational events will be held simultaneously across the entire Great Lakes region,” said Orlando. “It’s a chance to work directly with boaters and deliver a coordinated, regional message about the importance of AIS prevention during the busiest boating weekends of the year.”
“Working with local communities and volunteers will be key to the success of the event,” says John Navarro, fisheries program administrator for the ODNR Division of Wildlife.
“Boaters will have the opportunity to engage directly with volunteers in their community during the Blitz,” Navarro said. “Seeing community members taking time out of their day reinforces that it takes all of our efforts to help protect our lakes and rivers, including the Great Lakes, from the unwanted impacts of invasive species.”
Engaging youth in community service while also offering a valuable educational opportunity for the protection of our waterways is another highlight of the event in Ohio, says Bob Davis with the North Coast Bass Anglers Association.
“As part of an association that actively promotes youth engagement in the outdoors, we are happy to be partnering to offer an educational, volunteer-focused event for the recreational boating and angling community,” said Davis.
For more information on the AIS Landing Blitz, including educational materials, locations and volunteer opportunities, visit glc.org/work/blitz.
The Ohio State University’s Ohio Sea Grant College Program is part of NOAA Sea Grant, a network of 34 Sea Grant programs dedicated to the protection and sustainable use of marine and Great Lakes resources. For more information, visit ohioseagrant.osu.edu.