Spreading Knowlege, Stopping Exotics
on Kellie Thatcher’s bright blue T-shirt are the words “Clean Boats,
Clean Waters.” Thatcher fills in the details of that simple message
when she greets people at boat ramps this summer and talks about the
importance of keeping boats free of aquatic invasive species.
She and four other college students are working at ramps from Door
County to Sheboygan on Lake Michigan and along Wisconsin’s Lake
They’re also inspecting the boats, helping people launch or retrieve
them, and handing out brochures, stickers, and wallet-sized “Watch
Cards” that help identify zebra mussels, round gobies, Eurasian
milfoil, and other trouble-making invasive species.
“One man the other day was particularly interested,” Thatcher said
recently. “He had just bought a new motor to replace one that was
ruined by zebra mussels.”
The tiny mussels can clog engine cooling systems and become virtually impossible to remove.
This is the second summer UW Sea Grant has participated in the Clean Boats, Clean Waters program run by the Wisconsin Lakes Partnership,
a collaboration of the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, the
Wisconsin Association of Lakes, and the University of
Wisconsin-Extension. The program is conducting similar work with more
than 350 volunteers and DNR employees on smaller lakes throughout the
state. UW Sea Grant Invasive Species Specialist Phil Moy is supervising
the students working at Great Lakes ramps.
Last summer the students talked with more than 1,100 people at 33 ramps, Moy said.
Students Scott Allen and Paul Skawinski are also working Lake
Michigan ramps, and Amanda Bade and Jenna Scheub are stationed at
Wisconsin’s Lake Superior ramps. They each work one morning during the
week and two full days between Fridays and Sundays.
Moy will be looking for more students next summer. He can be reached at (920) 683-4697 or email@example.com.