News Release

Isle Royale National Park and Keweenaw Area Species Management Area Provide Free Boat Washes

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Date: August 10, 2021
Contact: Liz Valencia, 906-487-7153
Contact: Lynette Potvin

HOUGHTON, MICH –  Isle Royale National Park (NP) is partnering with the Keweenaw Invasive Species Management Area (KISMA) to offer free boat washes at marinas and boat launches in Houghton, Baraga, and Keweenaw Counties this summer. The boat wash events, funded by the National Park Service and Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, are being held to encourage boaters, kayakers, and jet skiers to Clean, Drain, and Dry watercraft to prevent the spread of Aquatic Invasive Species, particularly Zebra Mussels, in Lake Superior waters. The boat wash stations are high-pressure, high-temperature systems designed to disinfect watercraft prior to entering and when leaving waterbodies. Upcoming boat wash opportunities will be in Chassell, L’anse, Baraga, and Hancock.  

Zebra and quagga mussels are among the most economically and ecologically damaging aquatic invasive species in the United States. In some Great Lakes parks, invasive mussels have led to cascading ecosystem problems including nuisance algal growth and widespread bird die-offs. Though invasive mussels have been slow to establish in Lake Superior and surrounding waters due to their remote locations and more dilute waters, increasing numbers have been detected at Isle Royale in recent years.  The establishment of zebra mussels at Isle Royale NP could damage rare native mussels, infrastructure, historic shipwrecks, and important fish spawning habitats. 

The National Park Service aims to keep invasive mussels from gaining a foothold in Lake Superior parks that have had few or no detections to date. This includes Apostle Islands National Lakeshore, Grand Portage National Monument, Isle Royale NP, Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, and Voyageurs NP. Prevention measures include 1) Providing access to boat cleaning stations in and near parks, 2) Conducting intensive early detection efforts, 3) Reinforcing invasive species outreach and education efforts, and 4) Removing invasive mussels from high priority areas (e.g., docks, shipwrecks, fish spawning habitats, and native mussels). Recent work at Isle Royale NP suggests that invasive mussel removal efforts are feasible and successful in certain contexts. 

You can help keep waters free of aquatic invaders by reporting any detections and following the advice of the Stop Aquatic Hitchhikers campaign:

  • CLEAN visible plants, animals, and mud from equipment before leaving water, 
  • DRAIN bilges, live wells, motors, etc. before leaving water, 
  • DRY everything for at least five days or wipe with a towel before reuse, and 
  • DISPOSE of unwanted bait and fish parts in the trash.



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Last updated: August 10, 2021

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