Noem signs bills to ward off invasive species in South Dakota Waters
PIERRE, S.D. — Gov. Kristi Noem signed legislation Wednesday that will aim to protect South Dakota Waters and prevent the spread of invasive species like Zebra Mussels.
HB1033 will work to prevent the spread of Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) by requiring the inspection and decontamination of boats.
“Each year, thousands of South Dakotans and tourists enjoy the beauty and peace of South Dakota’s lakes and rivers. It’s a major economic driver and one of the things that makes South Dakota so special,” said Noem. “While we enjoy these outdoor opportunities, we must work diligently to keep our waters safe from species that have the potential to harm these favorite places. The legislation I signed takes steps to prevent the spread of invasive species and keep our natural treasures safe for the next generation of outdoor enthusiasts.”
Zebra Mussels, which were found in Lewis and Clark Lake and the Missouri River below Gavin’s point dam in 2015, then spread to Lake Sharpe in June of 2019. The Mussels pose a threat to anglers and lovers of wildlife by reproducing quickly in the right situations. Zebra Mussels then can form dense communities and can clog intakes for hydroelectric dams, water supplies and irrigation pipes which cause significant economic damages.
Zebra Mussels also compete with native wildlife while altering water quality. Zebra Mussels also can damage boat motors and docks.
In order to stop the spread of Zebra Mussels, it’s important for anglers to clear their watercraft and trailers of aquatic muds and plants. Anglers should also drain all water by removing plugs, drainers, bailers, or any valves that can contain water.
“It’s required for anglers to do those things to in order to help stop the problem,” South Dakota Game Fish and Parks Group Program Naturalist Keith Wintersteen said. “All the nutrients that is depended on by all the life in the water is taken in by the Zebra Mussels. “From that point on, any other form of aquatic life can’t get the necessary nutrients for survival. Aquatic Organisms in North America haven’t evolve like Zebra Mussels have.”