BISMARCK, N.D. (KXNET) — Governor Burgum has declared May 15-21 Aquatic Nuisance Species Awareness week in North Dakota to help raise the public’s understanding of the steps needed to stop the introduction and spread of aquatic nuisance species in the state’s waterways.

North Dakota Game and Fish knows the fallout that can occur due to aquatic nuisance species, which is why they want residents to know the dangers of what can happen when unwanted exotics are established.

According to Ben Holen, an aquatic nuisance species coordinator in Jamestown, they can change the ecology of areas where they begin to spread.

“Aquatic nuisance species are nonnative plants, animals, or pathogens that can affect the ecology of our lakes and rivers and can affect the economic and recreational value of those waterways,” said Holen.

North Dakota currently has a low number of aquatic nuisance species. Other than zebra mussels, just a few invasive plants and animals are found in some state waters. These include:

  • Curly-leaf pondweed
  • Eurasian watermilfoil
  • Flowering rush
  • Grass, Bighead, Silver, and Common Carp

To fight the introduction and spread of unwanted invasives, Holen said some of the shared burden falls on water users.

The Game and Fish Department encourages anglers, pleasure boaters and others to clean, drain and dry all equipment after every use. Also, clean and remove all plants or animals from watercraft or equipment prior to leaving any recreational area, and drain and remove water from all equipment prior to exiting designated access points.

Failing to drain water can be extremely hazardous and may cause negligent transportation of aquatic nuisance species to various locations.

For more information on aquatic nuisance species, visit the Department’s website at gf.nd.gov.