Senate approves House plan to protect waterways against invasive species

LANSING, MI – A bill approved this week by the state Senate would require Michigan boaters to clean their boats before putting them in the state's waterways.

The bill would threaten boat owners with a fine if they launch watercrafts with aquatic plants or animals attached. Lawmakers say the point of the legislation is to curb the threat of invasive species in Michigan's lakes and streams.

State Senator Patty Birkholz:

"The idea is to get the word out there, and sometimes it takes a fine to get people to notice it," she says. "We're not going to have officers at every boating launch site at every marina."

Birkholz says a few extra minutes to clean a boat of seaweed or zebra muscles will do a lot to prevent the spread of invasive species. The state House is expected to concur with the Senate version of the bill, and send it to Governor Granholm for her signature.