Clean Boats, Clean Waters - Waterfowl Hunters 2017

Purpose

Beginning in 2016, Wisconsin DNR Water Guards working with UW Extension Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) Outreach and Communications staff, and AIS Partners around the state utilize Clean Boats, Clean Waters (CBCW) methodology to conduct boat/gear inspections and AIS education during the waterfowl hunting season. Waterfowl hunters often visit multiple lakes, rivers and wetlands. Although many have heard about NR40, the law requiring them to inspect their boats and gear, drain water, and never move plants and animals during the summer boating season, they may not realize that their sport can also be a pathway for AIS movement. The CBCW message and survey has been adapted for the waterfowl hunting audience, emphasizing how their specific gear needs careful inspection and cleaning before moving to another waterbody.

Objective

AIS moves along multiple pathways. CBCW has previously focused on summer boating for recreation and fishing. The project addresses the movement of AIS through the sport of waterfowl hunting.

Study Design

The Waterfowl Hunter AIS Outreach Campaign, was conducted at access points at the Mead Wildlife Area, Horicon Marsh, Green Bay area, La Crosse area, and Big Muskego Lake. The CBCW survey was used without alteration. The hunters were also asked if they felt AIS is a problem where they hunt, about their difficulties performing AIS prevention steps and about the materials they use for concealment. In addition, they were asked to sign a pledge to not move AIS. Boat inspectors were provided SAH! brochure designed for waterfowl hunters, a list of talking points and other outreach materials. In 2017, the discussion section CBCW form was reworked to reflect waterfowl hunter related gear usage. Water Guards, Wardens and AIS partners conducted inspections and education at the 2016 locations and in addition, AIS partners from Crex Meadows, Lake Poygan, Sheboygan Marsh, Rock Lake (Jefferson Co), and Two Rivers participated. Most inspections were during the season openers, but Two Rivers surveys were held later in the season when they see the most hunter visits to the area. Additional weekend surveys were conducted at Big Muskego due to the high risk of spread of starry stonewort from the lake. The outreach “toolbox” was expanded to provide inspectors with additional information about NR40 as it pertains to blind materials, a hunter version of the CBCW prompt handout, waterfowl ID guides and detailed information about hunters gear, and a new giveaway prompt, a bird band printed with the SAH! logo.

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