Nevada boat regulations aim to stop spread of aquatic invasive species |

Nevada boat regulations aim to stop spread of aquatic invasive species

Staff Report
The Nevada Department of Wildlife now requires boaters to open their drains while traveling across the state in order to prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species.
Jim Grant / Tribune File Photo |

The battle to prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species has prompted the Nevada Department of Wildlife to require boaters to open their drains while traveling across the state.

Anyone transporting a watercraft on any public highway in Nevada, is required to have the drain plugs, drain valves and any other removable device used to control the draining of water removed and open while transporting the vessel, according to a press release.

The Nevada Board of Wildlife Commissioners approved the changes in an effort to lessen the transport and introduction of aquatic invasive species from one body of water to another.

“The intent of the new rule is to reduce the spread and transport of aquatic invasive species that can be found in waterbodies,” Karen Vargas, aquatic invasive species coordinator for the Nevada NDOW, said in the press release. “While stopping the spread of quagga mussels from the Colorado River system to other waters in Nevada is at the top of our list, there are many of Nevada’s water that can contain invasive plant fragments, seeds and other organisms that could create havoc to our fisheries, invertebrates, wildlife and drinking water if introduced.”

Vargas said when accidentally released, these invasive species can dramatically change the ecological conditions of lakes and rivers and cause severe economic impacts.

The larvae of quagga mussels and other invasive species are often invisible to the naked eye but they can easily survive in the water intake systems of watercraft, or other areas that retain water like bilges and bait tanks. Through the process of draining all water from the watercraft when departing a body of water and leaving the drain plugs and other valves removed, boaters will greatly reduce the potential spreading of any harmful aquatic invasive species.

It’s now a violation of state law to transport or introduce aquatic invasive species. NDOW states that boaters should follow these steps.

• CLEAN: Remove all mud, plants and animals from every part of your gear or boat.

• DRAIN: Remove all water from your watercraft, including its live-wells before you leave the recreation area. All watercraft drain plug and values must be left removed during transport.

• DRY: Allow your watercraft, gear and equipment to completely dry before reuse. The dry period for a watercraft in Nevada can range from 3-5 days in mid-summer or 3-4 weeks in the winter.

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