LANSING, Mich. — Michigan residents are encouraged to observe Aquatic Invasive Species Awareness Week on July 2-8 under a resolution sponsored by Sen. Dale Zorn and adopted by the state Senate.
“As families head out to enjoy boating or experience some of the world’s greatest fishing, this initiative offers them the opportunity to help prevent the introduction and spread of aquatic invasive species,” said Zorn, R-Ida. “In part, the Declaration of Independence, which we celebrate during the awareness week, was about self-determination — and so is the fight against aquatic invasive species.
“These invaders have the potential to devastate our ecosystems; our fishing, boating and tourism industries; and the livelihoods of thousands of Michigan families.”
Senate Resolution 74 encourages residents to increase their understanding and awareness of aquatic invasive species (AIS) and their ecological and economic impacts, and to take preventative measures to help stop the spread and introduction of these species in Michigan.
“Raising public awareness and engaging the people about the threat we are facing are the best actions we can take to protect the Great Lakes, our inland waters and our economy,” said Zorn, vice-chairman of the Senate Outdoor Recreation and Tourism Committee. “Just last week, a 28-inch-long silver carp was discovered alive and well only nine miles from Lake Michigan. Stopping the invasion of aquatic species like Asian carp and controlling those already here like zebra mussels are both important fights that we cannot afford to lose.”
SR 74 states that more than 180 nonindigenous AIS have been introduced to the Great Lakes, many of which are displacing native species; disrupting habitats; and degrading natural, managed and agricultural landscapes — resulting in millions of dollars for control efforts each year.
“Michigan has more than 900,000 registered boaters, and they can play a key role in preventing the accidental spreading of invasive species,” Zorn said. “We urge boaters to simply take a few proactive steps, such as washing boats and trailers before leaving access areas and drying boats and equipment for at least five days before launching into a different body of water.”
For more information about AIS, visit www.michigan.gov/Invasives.