DNR to boaters: Watch out for hitchhikers - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

DNR to boaters: Watch out for hitchhikers

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WATERLOO (KWWL) -

With the weather looking great for the holiday weekend, a lot of people will be hitting the Cedar Valley's lake and rivers for some boating. But before you go, experts with the Department of Natural Resources say check for aquatic hitchhikers.

Thursday was a great day to be back on the water at Brinkers Lake in Waterloo.

"We just tool around, puddle around and try the boat out," Laverne Teepe said. "See how it runs, try the boat out before I take it up to the Mississippi."

But before he put his boat in the water, he checked for any unwanted guests.

"I spray it down, wash it down," he said. "Usually, it's a mild acid every year when I take it out."

And that, according the DNR, is the right move.

"We ask people to remember three words: clean, drain, dry," said Kim Bogenschutz, DNR aquatic invasive species program coordinator.

Aquatic weeds and zebra mussels love clinging to boats moving from lake to lake.

"It can cause a lot of problems for our native species, and at the DNR, that's what we're concerned about, but also for our recreationalists," Bogenschutz said. "And that's what we're concerned about too."

It's a $500 fine for transporting aquatic plants. Incorrectly draining water is $75.

David Ames brought his jet skis to Brinkers Thursday. This weekend, he more will join him.

"Yeah, I guarantee the DNR will be out here Saturday," he said. "This place will be hopping with business."

The DNR asks that if you have any questions or concerns, reach out to local offices, because once an invasive species is in the water, it's tough going back.

"I imagine they'd probably take over a lake like this," Teepe said.

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