/ Articles / Clean Boats Clean Waters inspectors will be missing the early season

Clean Boats Clean Waters inspectors will be missing the early season

April 17, 2020 by Beckie Gaskill

Most boaters and anglers in the Northwoods have become accustomed to seeing Clean Boats Clean Waters (CBCW) volunteers at launch ramps on local lakes. Many even know the questions those volunteers will ask before they are asked. They have become a staple of enjoying the many waters of the Northwoods. 

However, with the recent environment in which we all find ourselves in relation to COVID-19 and the “Safer at Home” order, Erin McFarlane, the statewide Clean Boats Clean Waters educator with UW-Extension Lakes, has called for the suspension fo all watercraft inspections.

“Recent developments have caused the Department of Natural Resources and the UW System to restrict staff travel and require working remotely. Most Department monitoring activities have been suspended until further notice, including water quality monitoring,” McFarlane said. The governor’s recent call for limiting travel and other activities was the impetus behind suspending watercraft inspections. These inspections often require travel and also contact with persons not in the immediate household of the inspector. 

McFarlane said the hope is CBCW watercraft inspections will resume in June at some point, but she stated that would remain to be seen and would depend on how the situation unfolds. 

It is unclear, presently, how grants for these programs will be affected, but McFarlane said she would be sharing that guidance on the UW-Extension Lakes CBCW homepage as it becomes available.

CBCW volunteers throughout the state provide a valuable service to many lake organizations. The main task of a volunteer is to not only get an idea of how and where transient boaters travel, but also to educate people on invasive species. Humans are the main movers of invasive species from one body of water to another. For that reason, learning how to be sure those aquatic hitchhikers are not tagging along on boats, trailers and other equipment. Volunteers log hundreds of hours inspecting watercraft and talking to boaters and anglers about how to stop the spread of invasive species. This year, however, those volunteers are being asked to stay home - at least for now.

Beckie Gaskill may be reached via email at [email protected]

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