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Department of Energy and Environmental Protection Declares July 21-22 as the Third Annual Connecticut Clean, Drain, Dry Weekend

DEEP Staff will be at State Boat Launches educating boaters about clean and safe boating practices

Connecticut will mark its third Aquatic Invasive Species Awareness Weekend on July 21-22 – as part of an effort to encourage boaters and others to take all steps necessary to prevent the spread of invasive plants and animals. Connecticut’s Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) is partnering with the Candlewood Lake Authority to promote this weekend.
DEEP staff will be at many boat launches throughout the state over the weekend including those at Lattins Cove and Squantz Cove on Candlewood Lake, Highland Lake, and Coventry Lake. They will be educating boaters about clean and safe boating practices and conducting Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) inspections. DEEP staff will be at the launches from approximately 7:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

Aquatic Invasive Species, including both plants and animals, are a serious threat to Connecticut’s waters as their presence reduces recreational opportunities, decreases real estate values and alters the natural ecosystem of waterbodies. They have the ability to grow quickly and outcompete native species. Many aquatic invasive plants form dense mats just under the water surface, which can be hazardous to recreational boaters and swimmers.  Zebra mussels, a problematic invader, have colonized several lakes and ponds in Western Connecticut and need to be kept from spreading further.
Within the past year, Hydrilla has been found in a few Connecticut waterbodies. Efforts to minimize the plant growth in Coventry Lake are ongoing with increased awareness, education and control methods to prevent the spread of this invasive plant to additional waterbodies.
“Due to the ability of Aquatic Invasive Species to grow rapidly and outcompete native species, we encourage all boaters enjoying the waters of our great state to become knowledgeable and take action against the threats posed by aquatic invasive species,” said Rob Klee, DEEP Commissioner. “We encourage boaters to use the Clean, Drain, Dry method to help prevent the spread of invasive species among waterbodies.”
DEEP, the Candlewood Lake Authority and our clean and safe boating partners are encouraging all boaters to use the Clean, Drain, Dry methods to help prevent the spread of Aquatic Invasive Species by following the steps below.

Before Leaving the Water:
  • Clean: inspect and remove aquatic plants and animals as well as mud or other debris from your vessel, equipment (including rods/reels), shoes, etc.  (As a reminder to boaters, it is illegal to transport aquatic plants and animals on your boat or trailer). 
  • Drain any water collected from that water body. For boats this means the bilge and associated equipment (buckets, coolers, live wells, etc.).
For vessels and other equipment - prior to your next use in another water body:
  • Dry for a minimum of 1 week in hot/dry weather or 4 weeks in cool/wet weather. 
  • Wash your boat and equipment with (1) hot, high pressure water, (2) salt water solution for 24 hours prior to rinsing, (3) 100% vinegar for 20 minutes prior to rinsing, or (4) wash with bleach or soap & water.
Do not to return live bait into the water, including salt water, unless it was caught there. Instead, freeze it for a future fishing trip or give it to a fisherman at the site.
For more information about aquatic invasive species, visit  To get a voluntary AIS inspection on your vessel, please visit one of our state boat launches or contact Gwendolynn Flynn at
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