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Boaters offered tips to prevent spread of invasive species

Encon Police Stepping up Enforcement

HARTFORD — Connecticut environmental officials are offering boaters tips on how to prevent the spread of invasive plants and animals.

Staff of the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection will be available at boat launches statewide Saturday and Sunday. This weekend is the third annual Aquatic Invasive Species Awareness Weekend.

The DEEP says invasive species like the Hydrilla plant are a threat to state waters because they alter ecosystems by growing quick and out-competing native species. They also create a hazard for boaters and swimmers by forming dense mats just below water surfaces.

The state also says zebra mussels have invaded several lakes and ponds in western Connecticut and need to be stopped from spreading further.

Officials will be educating boaters about clean and safe boating practices and performing invasive species inspections.