Aquatic Invasive Species in the Black Hills
RAPID CITY, S.D. — As warm weather arrives in the coming weeks, boaters should be aware of aquatic invasive species, or AIS that may affect not only their equipment, but could also have a biological and economical effect.
A few of the species found within South Dakota are the zebra mussel, diddy mole which can be found in Rapid Creek, and Asian clam in Angostora Reservoir. In order to prevent the spread and infestation of such species, it is important for boaters to do their research ahead of time. Game, fish, and parks has information such as maps, facts and regulations as to which AIS are present in different bodies of water and how to minimize risk. Jake Davis of Game Fish and Parks says,
“What it means is that it’s up to an individual user. we always tell people clean, drain and dry. That’s the message we want to get across, because in a lot of cases with AIS, it only takes one instance of an introduction and we may have an infestation after that. So really it comes down to people taking their own personal responsibility to help us slow the spread.”
Biologically, some AIS’s have the potential to compete with or out compete native species, whether that be fish or vegetation. As for the economical affects, the presence of AIS’s may mean more infrastructure work to keep areas clean and free of infestation, or to clear clogged intake pipes.
“This AIS problem is really bigger than just anglers, because it’s anybody that’s using these aquatic resources that can potentially be a vector for moving AIS species. So we always try and reach out to not just anglers, but any users of those water bodies. So anybody that’s got a boat, anybody that’s going to use that water, to just be cognizant that they need to be aware of AIS and what they can do to help slow the spread as well,” says Davis.