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E-M:/ DEQ News Release - Boaters must help with Lake Protection



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Enviro-Mich message from "Alex J. Sagady & Associates" <ajs@sagady.com>
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 27, 2007

Contact: Robert McCann
              (517) 241-7397

Boaters Urged to Help Protect Michigan's Lakes

The Department of Environmental Quality?s Office of the Great Lakes is reminding boaters that they play an important role in protecting Michigan?s waters from invasive species this summer.  Aquatic invasive plants and animals threaten Michigan?s diverse ecosystems, and the confirmation of the existence of a new deadly fish virus, viral hemorrhagic septicemia virus (VHS), in the Great Lakes is further cause for concern.

Those enjoying Michigan?s lakes and streams should inspect watercrafts and recreational equipment before leaving a lake or other water body, remove any vegetation, drain all live wells, clean areas that may contain water, and dispose of unused bait in the trash.  Allowing boating and recreational equipment to dry 4-6 hours in the sun also helps to prevent the spread of VHS as well as zebra mussels and other organisms from one lake to another.

?Over 183 invasive species and the diseases they carry now threaten the Great Lakes? natural ecosystem,? said Office of the Great Lakes Director Ken DeBeaussaert.  ?Michigan boasts some of the most pristine lakes and streams anywhere in the world, and they need our help to ensure they stay healthy,?

VHS causes internal hemorrhaging and organ failure in fish, and while it does not pose any threat to human health even if infected fish are eaten, the full biological impact might not be clear for years.  VHS has been found in twenty species to date including muskellunge, smallmouth bass, northern pike, yellow perch, lake whitefish, walleyes, and Chinook salmon.

Infected fish have been found in lakes Huron, Michigan, Erie, and St. Clair and one inland lake in Clare County.  Large fish die-offs in lakes Huron, Erie, St. Clair, and Ontario affecting more than a dozen fish species have occurred over the past two years and are attributed to VHS.

Aquatic Invasive Species not only affect the use of Michigan waters but have negative effects on sport and commercial fishing, industry, municipalities and native fish and wildlife.  For more information on VHS and how to prevent its spread to inland waters or for information on new fishing regulations, visit www.michigan.gov/dnrfishing.

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?Protecting Michigan?s Environment, Ensuring Michigan?s Future?



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Alex J. Sagady & Associates        http://www.sagady.com

Environmental Enforcement, Permit/Technical Review, Public Policy, 
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(517) 332-6971; (517) 332-8987 (fax); ajs@sagady.com
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