What do Cabelas, Purefishing, Ranger Boats, the Village of Cazenovia in New York State, the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes in Montana, Orvis, Patagonia, the Elk Horn Lodge, the Wright & McGill Company, AEP, Wake Worx, 52 schools, 95 state agencies, 7 Canadian provincial agencies, 4 foreign countries, the city of Rochester, New York, the Kansas Rural Water Association, the Sea Plane Pilots Association, the Boat Trailer Manufacturers Association, the National Association of Underwater Instructors’ Green Diver Initiative, Boy Scout Troop 290, the Illinois Chapter of the Sierra Club, the Staunton Sportsmen’s Club, the Duncan, Oklahoma Police Department, the Virginia Aquarium and Marine Science Center, the Whitefish Area Property Owners Association, the Maryland Bass Federation, the Arkansas Chapter of Trout Unlimited, the Porter County (Indiana) Chapter of the Izaak Walton League, the Lake Superior Steelhead Association and 117 federal agency offices across the country all have in common?
They are all members of the Stop Aquatic Hitchhikers! campaign!!
Fifteen years ago, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, on behalf of the national Aquatic Nuisance Species Task Force, created this campaign to elevate the aquatic invasive species issue and unify the country in communicating the same prevention message. By developing a grass roots branding strategy, the Service has engaged partners of all shapes and sizes to use the campaign materials to communicate the prevention steps and empower recreational users of our aquatic resources to stop the spread of aquatic invasive species. You can go to the Pacific Northwest in Washington State and find the same prevention message as you would find at different access points in Florida. Because of this strategy, the Service has successfully worked with its partners to get the word out out about how cleaning your equipment is an important part of everyone’s 21st century recreational experience. With National Fishing and Boating Week starting this weekend, do the right thing, be a good steward and clean, drain and dry your equipment to help conserve America’s aquatic resources. Here are few action steps you can take to stop aquatic hitchhikers.