Clean Boats Crew: Aquatic Invasive Species Education and Outreach in Illinois and Indiana

Have you seen zebra mussels on docks, buoys, and bottoms of boats in lakes and ponds near your homes?  Have you found it difficult to navigate or fish in waters that are clogged with Eurasian watermilfoil? Aquatic invasive species (AIS) can cause serious problems in inland lakes and ponds. They not only affect recreational access to waters, but also impact the region’s ecology and economy.  AIS can be unintentionally spread among lakes by boaters, anglers, and recreational water users. 

We need your help to slow the spread of AIS! Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant (IISG) and the Northeastern Illinois Invasive Plant Partnership (NIIPP) are seeking volunteers to help raise public awareness about AIS and how to prevent their spread.  Volunteers will receive training at a two hour workshop and then pass along their new knowledge at boat ramps, marinas, and fishing tournaments during the boating season in Lake and Cook Counties in Illinois and Lake and Porter Counties in Indiana. The Clean Boats Crew Program is designed to create awareness among recreational water users about AIS and how to prevent their spread.  Similar programs have already proven successful in MI and WI. To read a copy of the 2015 edition of our manual click here. The brochures and stickers we hand out to the public are part of the Transport Zero campaign and Stop Aquatic Hitchhikers Program.

Site leader talks with anglers at North Point Marina, Winthrop Harbor, IL


We will offer two workshops to train site leaders and volunteers for the 2015 season on the evening of May 13th from 6-8:30 pm and the afternoon of May 16th from 12:00 pm to 2:30 pm at the Chicago Botanic Garden (please register with Cathy McGlynn at Workshops will provide site leaders and volunteers with background information about regional aquatic invasive plants and animals and the issues surrounding these species (how they were introduced, history of their control, etc.) and the "how to's" of talking with the public about AIS. The workshop presentations can be found here and here. If you would be interested in spending two or three hours on a Saturday or Sunday morning or afternoon talking with the public about aquatic invasive species please contact us!! We are also happy to give presentations to lake management associations, fishing clubs, etc. upon request. For more information, or to volunteer, contact NIIPP at


Regulatory Updates:

  • The Illinois Boat Registration and Safety Act has been amended to include provisions for the regulation of the transport of aquatic animals and plants on recreational water user boats and equipment (sea planes, jet skiis, etc.)  More information about the amendment can be found here
  • In addition, the Illinois Injurious Species List (Administrative Rule 805.20) was revised to include 27 aquatic invasive plants as of August 31, 2013. The list can be found here


The 2015 outreach schedule can be found below-

Cook County (Illinois)

Locations & Contact Information:

31st Street Harbor, 3155 S. Lake Shore Drive, Chicago, IL 60616

Contact:  Mark Dryden & Gina Rodriguez, 312-225-6464,

Burnham Harbor, 1559 S. Lake Shore Drive, Chicago, IL 60605

Contact: John Masse, 312-747-7009,

Belmont Harbor, 3600 Recreation Drive, Chicago, IL 60613

Contact: Noe Mendoza, 312-742-7673,


Outreach Schedule:

Saturday, May 23rd

AM – Kickoff Meeting at Chicago Botanic Garden

PM – Belmont Harbor

Sunday, May 24th - Burnham Harbor

Monday, May 25th (HOLIDAY) - 31st Street Harbor

Saturday, May 30th - Belmont Harbor

Sunday, May 31st - Burnham Harbor

Saturday, June 6th - 31st Street Harbor

Sunday, June 7th - Belmont Harbor

Saturday, June 13th - Burnham Harbor

Sunday, June 14th - 31st Street Harbor

Saturday, June 20th - Belmont Harbor

Sunday, June 21st - Burnham Harbor

Saturday, June 27th - 31st Street Harbor

Sunday, June 28th - Belmont Harbor

Saturday, July 4th (HOLIDAY) - Burnham Harbor

Sunday, July 5th - 31st Street Harbor

Saturday, July 11th - Belmont Harbor

Sunday, July 12th - Burnham Harbor

Saturday, July 18th - 31st Street Harbor

Sunday, July 19th - Belmont Harbor

Saturday, July 25th - Burnham Harbor

Sunday, July 26th - 31st Street Harbor

Saturday, August 1st - Belmont Harbor

Sunday, August 2nd - Burnham Harbor

Saturday, August 8th - 31st Street Harbor

Sunday, August 9th - Belmont Harbor


Lake County (Illinois)

Locations & Contact Information:

Northpoint Marina, 701 North Point Drive, Winthrop Harbor, IL 60096

Contact: David Suthard (IDNR), 847-746-2845,

Chain O’ Lakes, 8916 Wilmot Road, Spring Grove, IL 60081

Contact: Greg Behm (IDNR), 847-587-5512,

Waukegan Harbor, 55 S. Harbor Place, Waukegan, IL 60085

Contact: Randy Rogers, 847-244-3133,


Outreach Schedule:

Saturday, May 23rd -

AM – Kickoff Meeting at Chicago Botanic Garden

PM – Waukegan Harbor

Sunday, May 24th - Chain O’Lakes State Park

Monday, May 25th (HOLIDAY) - North Point Marina

Saturday, May 30th - Waukegan Harbor

Sunday, May 31st - Chain O’Lakes State Park

Saturday, June 6th - North Point Marina

Sunday, June 7th - Waukegan Harbor

Saturday, June 13th - Chain O’Lakes State Park

Sunday, June 14th - North Point Marina

Saturday, June 20th - Waukegan Harbor

Sunday, June 21st - Chain O’Lakes State Park

Saturday, June 27th - Geoffrey Morris Fishing Tournament at North Point Marina

Sunday, June 28th - Waukegan Harbor

Saturday, July 4th (HOLIDAY) - Chain O’Lakes State Park

Sunday, July 5th - North Point Marina

Saturday, July 11th - Waukegan Harbor

Sunday, July 12th - Chain O’Lakes State Park

Saturday, July 18th - North Point Marina

Sunday, July 19th - Waukegan Harbor

Saturday, July 25th - Chain O’Lakes State Park

Sunday, July 26th - North Point Marina

Saturday, August 1st - Waukegan Harbor

Sunday, August 2nd - Chain O’Lakes State Park

Saturday, August 8th - North Point Marina

Sunday, August 9th - Waukegan Harbor


Northwest Indiana

Locations and Contact Information:

Portage Public Marina, 1200 Marina Way, Portage, IN 46368

Contact: Barb Lusco, 219-763-6833,

East Chicago Marina, 3301 Aldis St., East Chicago, IN 46312

Contact: Karl Samuels, 219-313-1840

Hammond Marina, 701 Casino Center Drive, Hammond, IN 46320

Contact: 219-659-7678,


Outreach Schedule:

Saturday, May 23rd -

AM – Kickoff Meeting at Chicago Botanic Garden

PM – Hammond Marina

Sunday, May 24th - East Chicago Marina

Monday, May 25th (HOLIDAY) - Portage Public Marina

Saturday, May 30th - Hammond Marina

Sunday, May 31st - East Chicago Marina

Saturday, June 6th - Portage Public Marina

Sunday, June 7th - Hammond Marina

Saturday, June 13th - East Chicago Marina

Sunday, June 14th - Portage Public Marina

Saturday, June 20th - Hammond Marina

Sunday, June 21st - East Chicago Marina

Saturday, June 27th - Big Bass Bash (set up at Bass Pro Shop in Portage)

Sunday, June 28th - Gary Clean Water Festival

Saturday, July 4th (HOLIDAY) - Hammond Marina

Sunday, July 5th - East Chicago Marina

Saturday, July 11th - Portage Public Marina

Sunday, July 12th - Hammond Marina

Saturday, July 18th - East Chicago Marina

Sunday, July 19th - Portage Public Marina

Saturday, July 25th - Hammond Marina

Sunday, July 26th - East Chicago Marina

Saturday, August 1st - Hammond Marina (Venetian Night)

Sunday, August 2nd - Portage Public Marina

Saturday, August 8th - East Chicago Marina

Sunday, August 9th - Portage Public Marina