DNR: "Be a Hero" in Fight Against Invasives

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Conservation agencies in Illinois are encouraging hunters, anglers, gardeners and pet owners to “Be a Hero” in the fight against invasive species in Illinois.

The Illinois Department of Natural Resources and the Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant Institute have launched a program called “Be a Hero, Transport Zero” and “Be a Hero, Release Zero.”

“Invasive species are probably the biggest challenge we have here in Illinois in our natural environment,” said Kevin Irons, Aquatic Nuisance Species Manager for the DNR.

Those invasive species are plants and animals not native to Illinois that are introduced into the wild and grow into a nuisance, like the jumping Asian carp that have caused problems on some rivers.

The campaign encourages pet owners and gardeners to stem the introduction of those plants into the environment by finding new homes for fish, reptiles or other animals they no longer want or can support, rather than releasing them into the wild. It also encourages people to bag unwanted plants and place them in the trash, rather than dumping them outdoors.

Another part of the campaign encourages anglers and hunters to help prevent the spread of invasive plants, animals and diseases while they enjoy the outdoors.

“When you’re out there with your boat and your equipment, if you remove all the plants and animals, you drain all the buckets and live wells and bilges, and then you dry everything thoroughly, then we really reduce the risk of moving invasive species,” Irons said. “When you’re waterfowl hunting, you get mud and plants on decoys, you get burrs and seeds on dogs, the same three easy steps are important, and that includes brushing your dog and removing those seeds from his coat.”

You can find more information about the Be a Hero campaign here.

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