In the United States, 12.7 million households own and enjoy using a boat. As of 2016, nearly 14% of the population over the age of six participated in water sports, and nearly 20% of Millennials do so. When it comes to wakeboarding, boating, or any other type of water activity, one of the things we all need to be thinking about are boat accessories that protect the environment, like an eco-conscious invasive species filter. Invasive species prevention is more important now than it has ever been.
What is an Invasive Species?
Simply put, this is any living organism that is carried (or carries itself!) to a place where it doesn’t belong. Sometimes, these are also called exotic species or non-native plants or animals. They are invaders in an ecosystem where they may have no natural predators, in which case they will reproduce unchecked and destroy competing native species in the fight for space and food.
What Can An Invasive Aquatic Species Do?
Invasive water species can not only harm competing native populations but also destroy game fish numbers and decimate the local economy in areas where the community is dependent upon the water for much of its livelihood. They can also damage boat engines and steering mechanisms, even fouling up and seizing steering equipment. They can degrade ecosystems over time, negatively affect the health of people near a given body of water, and dramatically reduce the property values in the area.
How do They Travel?
Invasive species can move in ways you never imagined. They can hitch a ride on a boat of any type, or on any item used in the water, like snorkeling or fishing gear. They can even attach themselves to debris and your clothes.
How Can Invasive Species be Stopped?
Anyone who loves the water and spends time in it can help keep invasive species out of our waterways. Simple tips for everyone include removing all visible vegetation from a boat, from clothes, from gear, and from engines or anything else that is in the water. If your boat is ever going to visit another body of water, make sure you drain and flush the motor, the bilge, the livewell, and the transom wells. It’s important to regularly pressure wash boats and rinse them with hot water and let them dry for at least five days before putting a boat into a different body of water. The eco-conscious invasive species filter is another great way of keeping out invasive species. An eco-conscious invasive species filter is simple and cost-effective. It keeps the larvae of invasive species from entering sporting boat ballast tanks so that species can’t spread between lakes. The eco-conscious invasive species filter is actually accepted in lieu of ballast tank contamination in 18 states and now comes standard on many new boats.
There are more than 4,500 kinds of invasive plants and animals that have already established populations in the United States alone, and more arrive every year. Of our native species of flora and fauna, 42% are being significantly pressured by the presence of these invasive species. The economic impact to people is currently costing the country about $120 billion per year. Do your part. Enjoy the water, but carefully check your clothes, equipment, and boats after you leave. Think about installing an eco-conscious invasive species filter, especially if you enjoy using different bodies of water. Help us protect the amazing and diverse native species of our beautiful country.