The Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources is launching an initiative at nine state parks including Presque Isle and Pymatuning to help prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species.

Staff will be conducting voluntary boat and trailer checks at boat launches on park lakes, handing out information and demonstrating how to do an inspection.

Boat checks will be done at the following state parks:

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

Any aquatic species that is found will be removed and collected, which will provide valuable data.

Aquatic invasive species could include zebra mussels, hydrilla, water chestnut, and starry stonewort. These species can disrupt ecosystems, harming the environment, the economy, and human health and negatively impacting the rivers, lakes, ponds, and activities boaters use.

Invasive species are expected to increase in abundance with warmer, wetter weather caused by climate change, according to the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.

Boaters are encouraged to take 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