Boat Wash 2017


It is a scary fact that there are 188 known aquatic invasive species in the Great Lakes and not a known eradication method for any of them!


How do boaters feel about washing their boats? Will they wash when entering a lake, leaving a lake or both?  Do boaters have adequate information about these invasives?  Have awareness campaigns been enough to make boat washing a standard part of recreational inland lake use?  The Higgins Lake Foundation and the DNR are working together to answer these questions.  When you launch your

boat this weekend at various locations you will be given a postcard with a request to fill out a survey posted on the Higgins Lake Foundation web site.  Thousands of post cards will be distributed to boaters this summer and many more requests will be made via email to enable an analysis of current public opinion.

The Higgins Lake Foundation has funded the construction of three boat wash stations at Higgins Lake, the North side boat wash station, the South State Park station and Gerrish Marina.  This major investment was made to create the first and best known line of defense to protect Higgins Lake and to also work toward the goal of using Higgins Lake as “pilot program” for mandatory boat washing.  Some States have already incorporated mandatory boat washing as standard policy.  Once an invasive has infested a lake it is almost impossible to eradicate it completely.


How do these aquatic invasives invade?  Boats, trailers, fishing equipment, props, aquarium plants being disposed of in a lake, bait and bilge water. They are often invisible but can be along for the ride even on a boat that appears to be clean as a whistle!  Invasives hitch-hiking lake to lake on boats also increases infestations. All of Michigan’s precious inland lakes share this challenge.

Here at Higgins Lake we host zebra mussels and Eurasian water milfoil.  Zebra mussels increase and decrease in cycles based on their “food” supply.  The Eurasian water milfoil is being controlled, reduced and removed by the DASH Boat – Diver Assisted Suction Harvester Boat.  The Higgins Lake Foundation owns, operates and insures the DASH Boat.  A crew of four (three are certified divers) operate the boat. This method has exceeded all expectations, it does not involve chemicals and does not harm native vegetation.  The cost to operate the boat is $20,000 per year, a price much lower and safer than chemicals. Donations to the Higgins Lake Foundation make this program possible.

July 01 begins the State -wide kick off a  boat washing campaign, “the Landing Blitz” at launch sites with volunteers meeting boaters and distributing educational information.

The Higgins Lake Foundation will be participating for the 4th year with volunteer board members, Rotarians and other community volunteers stationed at the South State Park and West launch sites.  We have labeled the local program  “Rock the Ramp” because that phrase reflects the enthusiasm of participants.

Want to join in?  Please call the Higgins Lake Foundation 989 275-9183.

Vicki Springstead