The North Dakota Parks & Recreation Department, in partnership with the North Dakota Game & Fish Department, is highlighting the importance of stopping the spread of Aquatic Nuisance Species (ANS) during the week of May 15-21. ANS Awareness Week is intended to further educate visitors on the potential risk to public health, property and the economy from the negative impacts associated with ANS.
The North Dakota Parks & Recreation Department has 12 state parks that have water access available for recreation purposes. Therefore, it is important that visitors utilizing and transporting watercraft clean, drain and dry all equipment between uses. Last year, in partnership with Game & Fish, Lake Metigoshe State Park was able to install an ANS cleaning station at the park. This allows anglers to easily rinse their boats off to help prevent the spread of nonnative plants, animals or pathogens that threaten North Dakota's waterways.
ANS is just one of the invasive species the agency works hard to prevent the spread of in North Dakota. The term "invasive" is used for aggressive species that grow and reproduce rapidly, displace native species, and cause significant disturbance to the areas in which they are present.
In state park campgrounds, the agency provides locally sourced firewood in order to reduce the spread of emerald ash borer, a beetle that feeds on ash trees. Throughout state park properties, the agency also sprays for noxious and invasive weeds annually to prevent and reduce the spread of invasive species. These weeds can choke out native species and habits that animals need for survival and impact forage production.
The department would like to remind visitors that they have a vital role in helping prevent the spread of invasive species across North Dakota. Clean off your boats and recreation vehicles after every use, clean off your shoes between hikes, buy local hay and firewood, and leave flowers and plants where you find them. These quick and easy tasks can have a huge impact on the fight against the spread of invasive species.
The mission of the North Dakota Parks and Recreation Department is to offer a diversity of recreation opportunities and sustainably manage resources.