Aquatic Invasive Species in Wisconsin: The New “No Transport” Law
To help prevent the spread of invasive species like Eurasian water milfoil, it’s long been illegal in Wisconsin to launch a boat when it or your trailer has aquatic vegetation or animals on it. Earlier this year, the law was strengthened to also prohibit the “transport” of aquatic vegetation or animals.
It’s now illegal in Wisconsin to “transport on a public highway a vehicle, boat, boat trailer, equipment or gear of any type which has an aquatic plant or aquatic animal attached.”
The law carries penalties from $232 to $767.50 for a first offense. A second offense within three years carries a penalty that ranges up to $2,657.
At some landings, you may encounter volunteer boat inspectors and paid county and state boat inspectors. You may even encounter conservation officers ready to write tickets.
Some aquatic plants and animals can survive for long periods out of the water; even if you’re not traveling directly to another lake, you could be spreading invasive species. For that reason, the DNR recommends the following before launching and before leaving a launch:
• Inspect boats, trailers and equipment.
• Remove all attached aquatic plants and animals.
• Drain all water from boats, vehicles and equipment.
• Never move live fish away from a water body. If you want to take your catch home, drain water from it before leaving the landing; however, you can put the fish on ice.
• Buy bait only at Wisconsin bait dealers. You may take leftover minnows home in up to two gallons of water and use it again on the same water, or use it elsewhere if you have not added lake or river water to the bait container.
To learn more, visit the Wisconsin DNR’s website at http://dnr.wi.gov/invasives/aquatic/.
Of course, you won’t have to worry about trailering your boat once you have your own home or cabin on a Wisconsin lake. To see my waterfront properties in Northwestern Wisconsin, click here.
Or, maybe you’d rather spend less and own a cabin just down the road from several lakes. After all, it only takes a moment to check your boat and trailer for aquatic hitchhikers.