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 2014 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 offered one workshop to train site leaders and volunteers for the 2014 season on the afternoon of May 10th from 3-5:00 pm. Workshops provided site leaders and volunteers with background information about aquatic invasive plants and animals in this region and the issues surrounding them (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 2014 season, our fourth season, has ended. To date we have reached more than 7,000 people.  Thank you to everyone for their support!  


Stay tuned for postings about next season in early spring 2015.