The Bingham Boat Launch Wash Station allows people to wash their boats before and after launching in Lake Leelanau to prevent the spread of Michigan's aquatic invasive species.

Prevent the Spread of Michigan’s Aquatic Invasive Species

The Bingham Boat Launch Wash Station is up and running! Please, use this boat wash station and the Clean, Drain, and Dry procedure to prevent the spread of Michigan's aquatic invasive species (AIS).

In 2019, Eurasian watermilfoil (EWM) was first discovered in Lake Leelanau. The Lake Leelanau Lake Association, in partnership with the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians, has since undertaken intense efforts to keep the invasive species in check. Annual costs of monitoring and eradication were $150,000 per year during 2020 and 2021. Costs for the Association alone in 2022 are expected to be over $300,000 as the program matures and incorporates improved monitoring, a rapid response plan, native plant replanting, and EWM removal. These are huge costs, that unfortunately, could have been avoided.

The Clean, Drain, and Dry procedure is used by boaters launching in Lake Leelanau to stop aquatic hitchhikers.

The Bingham Boat Launch Wash Station

The boat cleaning station at the DNR Bingham Launch uses high-pressure air to blow off invasive species and a wet/dry vacuum to remove any accumulated water that may contain invasive species. Some lakes have high-pressure water systems. It is essential to clean all outside areas of the boat and trailer and remove plugs and drain all water from bilges and livewells before transporting the watercraft to another lake. Please ensure your boat is clean before launching in Lake Leelanau! Since Lake Leelanau is infested with EWM, cleaning your boat after leaving Lake Leelanau and launching in another lake is crucial for preventing the spread of EWM to other lakes.

LLLA's efforts to prevent the spread of EMW

Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) are transported from lake to lake via boat trailers, bilge water, live bait wells, and fishing equipment. Even though a Michigan State law is in place that prohibits transporting boats with invasive species, it is not enough and the State does not have the resources to enforce this law nor provide boaters with the easily accessible means to prevent the transport of AIS. The LLLA's AIS prevention plan incorporates education, signage, a strategy to control entry points, and boat cleaning equipment at selected high-volume launch points. In the summer of 2021, our first boat wash station was constructed at the Bingham Boat Launch to prevent the spread of Michigan's AIS. And we have plans in the works for additional stations around the lake.

Clean, Drain, and Dry Boat Cleaning Procedure

Learn more about the general Clean, Drain, and Dry procedure below:

CLEAN off visible aquatic plants, animals, and mud from all equipment before leaving water access.

  1. The Bingham Boat Launch Wash Station uses high-pressure air. Use this to blow away all equipment and boat hulls. 
  2. If at home, rinse equipment and boat hulls (with high-pressure water if available).
  3. Rinse interior compartments of boats with low pressure, hot water (120°F).
  4. Flush the motor with hot water (120°F) for two minutes (or according to the owner’s manual). 
  5. Rinsing with water removes organisms, while hot water often kills them. Water at least 120°F is recommended; be sure to avoid contact with skin and check manufacturers’ recommendations to ensure equipment can withstand high temperatures. If hot water is not available or may cause damage, rinsing with tap water and completely drying will help prevent the spread of AIS.

DRAIN motor, bilge, livewell, and other water-containing devices before leaving water access.

  1. Draining removes small and nearly invisible organisms, such as zebra mussel larvae (veligers), potentially entrained in water-containing devices.

DRY everything for at least five days OR wipe with a towel before reuse.

  1. Drying is necessary as many organisms can survive in standing water. 

For ANGLERS, the additional step of DISPOSE is recommended:

DISPOSE of unwanted bait, worms, and fish parts in the trash. When keeping live bait, drain the bait container and replace it with spring or dechlorinated tap water. Never dump live fish or other organisms from one water body into another.

A note about chemicals. The use of chemical prophylactics or disinfectants (e.g., bleach) is not recommended for treating watercraft and recreational equipment. Chemicals may:

  • Damage equipment or components
  • Cause environmental damage
  • Harm human health
  • Not be effective against many aquatic invasive species

What can you do to prevent the spread of Michigan's AIS?

  1. Report new sightings. If you think you have found an invasive species, note its exact location and, if possible, take a photo. Report new sightings to the appropriate authorities or use the USGS Sighting Report Form.
  2. Know the rules! Specimens are needed to confirm sightings, but some jurisdictions prohibit the possession and transport of invasive aquatic plants and animals. Before collecting specimens, contact your local natural resource management agency for instructions. The unauthorized introduction of plants, fish, or invertebrates into the wild is illegal in most states — protect your property and our waters.
An infographic with information on how to help stop the spread of aquatic hitchhikers.

For more information about boat washing and AIS, please follow these links:

Want to help stop the spread of AIS? Please, join us in implementing the Clean, Drain, and Dry procedure every time you take your boat out on the water. If you have questions about this procedure and the Bingham Boat Launch Wash Station, please, submit an inquiry via our contact form or email us at [email protected].

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