Outdoor briefs

Prevent spread of invasive species

Duck hunters can inhibit the spread of invasive aquatic vegetation by inspecting their their boats, trailers and hunting equipment at the end of each hunting day.

The nomadic habits of ducks and duck hunters can distribute unwanted aquatic invasive species, such as giant salvinia, water hyacinth and alligatorweed. These plants can reproduce quickly, choke out access to waterways and smother native vegetation that provides food for ducks and other wildlife. These and other plants are easily transported as fragments or seeds clinging to decoys, decoy bags, boats and trailers, and also in the mud clinging to waders.

Duck hunters can prevent further spread of invasive species by following the three-step process anytime they move to new water.

Clean all equipment. Remove all plants and pieces of vegetation, seeds and mud off your waders, decoys, blind, truck, boat and trailer, and wash all equipment and gear with a high-pressure washer.

Drain all water from your boat by removing all drain plugs when you leave the boat ramp.

Dry your gear, preferably for five days, before visiting new waters. If there isn't enough time to air dry between trips, use a towel to wipe dry remaining wet surfaces.

Also, waterfowl hunters should pay particular attention to decoys, decoy anchors and swivels that can snag invasive aquatic plants.

The AGFC's Code of Regulations requires boaters to remove all drain at the boat ramp when leaving a body of water and during transport, including those in live wells and bilge areas.

A list of the most common aquatic nuisance species in Arkansas is available at agfc.com/ans as well as a hotline to report new infestations of these plants and animals as hunters and other outdoors enthusiasts find them.

AGFC suspends Lake Conway permit

The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission is suspending all item removal permits for Lake Conway until further notice.

Due to a controlled drawdown that began Sept. 1, the lake's water level has receded enough to allow the appropriate cultural resource surveys to begin the permitting process through the U.S. Army Corps Engineers. This will include input from the State Historic Preservation Office and others. The AGFC will work with these partners to preserve the cultural integrity of what might be found in the lake bed and expedite any required additional permitting.

During this phase of the project all item removal permits are suspended. Effective immediately, digging in the lakebed will not be allowed and no items may be removed.

The AGFC is coordinating with the Department of Parks, Heritage and Tourism to create opportunities for future item removal events and cleanups for volunteers. Visit agfc.com/lakeconway for more information on the Lake Conway renovation.

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