With many Iowans heading out onto the state’s waterways for memorial day weekend, the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is reminding boaters and anglers to avoid taking on aquatic hitchhikers. The hitchhikers are invasive species, such as zebra mussels and Eurasian watermilfoil, and move from one body of water to another by catching rides from people through boats, bait buckets and other equipment. These species can cause serious problems by disrupting habitats and making lakes and rivers unusable for recreationists. According to Kim Bogenschutz, the DNR’s aquatic invasive species coordinator, “The best way to control the negative impacts of aquatic invasive species in Iowa is to prevent their spread to new water bodies.” Officials recommend people “Clean, Drain and Dry.” CLEAN any plants, animals or mud from your boat and equipment before leaving. DRAIN water from the motor, live well, bilge, bait buckets and more. Finally, DRY anything that comes into contact with the water, including clothing and dogs. They also suggest boats and trailers should be rinsed with a high-pressure washer and dried for at least five days before heading to another body of water. It is against the law to possess or transport aquatic plants and prohibited species on water-related equipment in Iowa. For more information, follow the link included with this story on our website.