Curly Leaf Pondweed in McClusky Canal, North Dakota

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Curly Leaf Pondweed in McClusky CanalThe recent discovery of curly leaf pondweed in the McClusky Canal in central North Dakota serves as a reminder for all water recreationists, including waterfowl hunters, to abide by regulations intended to help prevent the spread of aquatic nuisance species.

A state Game and Fish Department fisheries crew discovered the unwanted plant in late July. The plant was spotted in the canal waters near Lake Audubon.

Lynn Schlueter, ANS coordinator, said curly leaf pondweed causes problems to fish populations and hinders recreational fishing. “It is going to be hard to control its spread throughout the canal chain as Lake Audubon is a very large reinfestation source upstream,” he said. “At this point, we can notify recreationists that there is a problem and they have to take the required precautions to prevent it from moving to other areas.”

Curly leaf pondweed grows to a deep depth and forms thick stands, making it extremely difficult to fish in. The plant dies in late summer, and decaying vegetation and seeds for next year’s plants drift about the water body.

It is extremely important ANS regulations are followed, Schlueter said, while emphasizing this finding serves as a good reminder for water recreationists to abide by the rules. “If not, citations may be issued,” he added.

ANS can be transported from lake to lake by boats, trailers and other recreational equipment. To comply with regulations, anglers, hunters, boaters and personal watercraft users must:

Inspect and remove all aquatic vegetation from boats, personal watercraft, trailers, and associated equipment such as fishing poles and lures before leaving a body of water.

Remove all aquatic vegetation from bait containers when leaving the water.

Drain all water from boats and other watercraft, including bilges, livewells and motors, at the ramp site before leaving a water body. The only exception is livewells used to transport game fish or baitfish, and potable water and sewage water which must be disposed of properly.

Not transport live aquatic bait or aquatic vegetation into North Dakota. All water must be drained from watercraft upon entering the state.

Not dump bait into any North Dakota water.

Not introduce any fish into North Dakota water.

Not transport nongame fish (other than legal live baitfish) in water away from the water body in which they were taken.

In addition, with fall hunting seasons approaching, waterfowl hunters must clean duck boats, waders and other hunting equipment before leaving a water body, and are urged to run a brush through a hunting dog’s coat to remove any mud and seed.