State will check boats for invasive aquatic hitchhikers at two state parks in York County

Zebra mussels attached to a rock in a Texas waterway. (Getty Images)

HARRISBURG — The State Department of Conservation and Natural Resources is looking for help from Pennsylvania anglers and boaters to prevent the spread of invasive species in lakes and rivers statewide.

To that end, DCNR Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn announced Wednesday that the department is launching an effort at nine state parks — including two in York County — to check boats and trailers and hand out informational brochures on how to perform an inspection.

The effort will begin this week, Dunn said.

“Boats, motors, and trailers have ideal hiding spots where species may attach, and be transported to new locations,” Dunn said. “Boaters must be involved in helping us protect state park waters from invaders, to benefit our environment and avoid very costly measures to treat lakes once these non-native species take hold.”

Boat checks will take place in the following state parks:

  • Bald Eagle, Centre County
  • Beltzville, Carbon County
  • Codorus, York County
  • Gifford Pinchot, York County
  • M.K. Goddard, Mercer County
  • Moraine, Butler County
  • Presque Isle, Erie County
  • Prince Gallitzin, Cambria County
  • Pymatuning, Crawford Count

If aquatic species are found, they will be removed and collected, providing data that will assist in management practices, Dunn said.

Aquatic invasive species could include zebra mussels, hydrilla, water chestnut, and starry stonewort.

Once these species are introduced, Dunn said, they disrupt ecosystems causing harm to the environment, the economy, and human health. They negatively influence the rivers, lakes, ponds, and activities boaters enjoy.

Boaters can help stop aquatic hitchhikers by taking the following steps before leaving the access area where the boat is removed:

  • Clean boats and trailers of any plants, organisms, mud or other material from the water
  • Drain water from watercraft, bilge, bladder tanks, livewell, and portable bait containers
  • Dry everything for five days between waters, or if not possible wipe with a towel before reuse

For more information about stopping aquatic hitchhikers visit www.protectyourwaters.net.

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