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Bismarck, ND – The North Dakota Parks and Recreation Department (NDPRD), in partnership with the North Dakota Game and Fish Department, is highlighting the importance of stopping the spread of Aquatic Nuisance Species (ANS) during the week of May 5-11. ANS Awareness Week in North Dakota is intended to further educate visitors on the potential risk to public health, property and the economy from the negative impacts associated with ANS to ultimately stop the introduction and spread of ANS in the state’s waterways. 


Nuisance, or invasive, species are aggressive species that grow and reproduce rapidly, displace native species, and cause significant disturbance to the areas they are present. Park visitors play a vital role in helping prevent the spread of invasive species across North Dakota through some quick and easy tasks: 

  • Clean your gear: Before leaving a body of water, thoroughly clean all equipment such as boats, kayaks, fishing gear, and any other gear that comes into contact with water. Remove all plants, mud, and debris. 
  • Drain water: Drain all water from boats, motors, bilges, and live wells before leaving the area. 
  • Dry gear: Allow all gear to completely dry before using it in another body of water.  
  • Dispose of bait properly: Never release unused bait into the water. 
  • Stay informed: Learn about the ANS species in the park you're visiting and follow any guidelines or regulations provided by park staff. 


NDPRD 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. In partnership with ND Game and Fish Department, Lake Metigoshe State Park has a watercraft 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. Grahams Island State Park has an Internet Landing Installed Device Sensor at its boat ramps which plays a recording when a watercraft is detected, reminding boaters to remove any aquatic plants and animals from their watercraft. Not draining water can be extremely hazardous and may cause negligent transportation of ANS to various locations. 


“Our best defense in the fight against the introduction and spread of unwanted invasive species is when water users commit to clean, drain and dry all equipment after every use,” said Kathy Duttenhefner, ND Parks and Recreation Natural Resources Division Chief. “These are simple steps that make a big impact to keep our state’s waterways, forests and animal habitats safe from ANS.” 


The mission of the North Dakota Parks and Recreation Department is to enrich generations through experiences that connect people and places. 

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