Public input sought for draft Aquatic Nuisance Species Plan

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Public input sought for draft Aquatic Nuisance Species Plan

3/12/08

Frankfort, Kentucky – The Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources, along with several other agencies, recently completed a draft of a plan to address aquatic nuisance species such as zebra mussels and Asian carp. The draft is available for public review on the Internet at fw.ky.gov for a 30-day comment period.

“We are outlining an approach to aquatic nuisance species management in Kentucky,” said Benjy Kinman, director of fisheries for Kentucky Fish and Wildlife. “We must submit this plan to the Federal Aquatic Nuisance Species Task Force following the public comment period. If we get an approved plan, there is federal funding available for aquatic nuisance species regarding early detection, eradication and prevention through education and outreach.”

Aquatic nuisance species such as zebra mussels, Asian carp, the invasive plant hydrilla and the Asian snakehead fish threaten Kentucky’s native fish, plant and mussel species by competing for food and living space. “We must elevate awareness of the threat of aquatic nuisance species,” Kinman explained. “It is one of the top five issues we face in fisheries.”

Zebra mussels cause millions of dollars in damage to intake pipes for municipal water supplies. Silver and bighead carp compete with native sport and commercial species such as paddlefish for food. Hydrilla can form dense mats in lakes that choke out native aquatic plants. The plant can also harm largemouth bass populations by impairing their ability to feed on young fish that hide in the thick hydrilla.

“Hydrilla can quickly become aquatic kudzu,” Kinman said.

Anglers often unintentionally spread aquatic nuisance species by taking bait from one body of water to another. Anglers can easily mistake young Asian carp for shad and transport as bait fish.

“Don’t move bait between water bodies,” Kinman said. “Never release your bait in or near a water body where it can live and multiply.”

Awareness of the impact of aquatic nuisance species is on the rise. Large chain pet stores now supply a list of what they plan to import into the state. Kentucky Fish and Wildlife’s fisheries staff reviews the list.

“The awareness is growing,” Kinman said. “Having pet companies do this is a big step in controlling the spread of aquatic nuisance species. Most established aquatic nuisance species cannot be economically eradicated, but new introductions of these species can be prevented.”

The public is invited to send their comments by mail to the following address:

Ryan Oster
Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources
#1 Sportsman’s Lane
Frankfort, Ky. 40601

Comments may also be e-mailed to: [email protected]

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The Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources manages, regulates, enforces and promotes responsible use of all fish and wildlife species, their habitats, public wildlife areas and waterways for the benefit of those resources and for public enjoyment. Kentucky Fish and Wildlife, an agency of the Commerce Cabinet, has an economic impact to the state of $4.8 billion annually. For more information on Kentucky Fish and Wildlife, visit our web site at fw.ky.gov.


Media Contact:
Ryan Oster (800) 852-0942 ext. 353
 


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