Saving the Lake from Invasive Species

Shared with Permission from Mr. Kevin Dodge:

“Every summer since 2015, the Maryland Department of Natural Resources Park Service has contracted with the Garrett College Natural Resources and Wildlife Technology program to hire students to work as launch stewards at the boat launch at Deep Creek Lake State Park and, on weekends, at Rocky Gap State Park. These students inspect each incoming vessel and trailer for the presence of non-native aquatic plants and animals that may negatively affect the two lakes. More importantly, they inform boaters of the harmful impacts of introducing such species (under Maryland law, it is illegal to knowingly launch a vessel with invasive species present). Our launch stewards this summer are Dakota Knott, Riley Brick, Grant Helmstetter, and Maria Metz.

Last Friday (July 3rd) at the Deep Creek Lake State Park launch, an inspection of a boat, last launched in Cheat Lake, turned up hydrilla, an aggressively invasive non-native species of submerged aquatic vegetation. Later the same day, a boat that had last been in the Ohio River showed up at the launch covered with zebra mussels. The inadvertent introduction of zebra mussels has had devastating economic and ecological consequences for many water bodies. After our students informed the boat owners of the presence of these “aquatic hitchhikers” and the harmful impact they would have on the lake, the owners took their boats to be safely washed.

Great job, Dakota, Riley, Grant, and Maria!

See The Stop-Aquatic-Hitchhikers-Brochure and for more information.”