Clean, Drain, and Dry units coming to Columbia River sites

On your way to the lake or river? Don’t forget your life jacket, boater’s card, sunscreen, and to clean, drain, and dry. Wait- clean, drain, and dry? While it sounds like a lot, those extra few steps, practiced every time you take your boat jet ski, kayak, or other watercraft to any body of water in Washington State, can seriously reduce the chances of spreading aquatic invasive species (AIS) to lakes and rivers in our state. AIS are non-native plants, animals, and other organisms that can proliferate once they get into our waterways and outcompete native flora and fauna, leading to the loss of native plants and animals, destroying biodiversity, and permanently altering habitats. AIS include plants, mussels, crayfish, and frogs.

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) has long been working with the Washington Invasive Species Council (WISC) and many other groups to keep these species from both getting into our state’s waters and spreading from one water body to another. The latest tool in this effort is something called a CD3 unit- again, clean, drain, dry, and dispose. As part of an increased effort to fight AIS, these units have recently been installed at the Northup Boat Launch at Steamboat Rock State Park on Banks Lake in Grant County (one of the state’s most popular parks) and at the Kettle Falls Marina on Lake Roosevelt in northeast Washington.

While CD3 machines look like something you might buy a soda out of or maybe put air in the tires of your vehicle with, they are a user-operated vacuum system. These free systems include a wet/dry vac, blower system, hand tools, and even lights for when you launch or take your craft out of the water after dark. And while we understand that using these units are just one more thing to do when you’re trying to get out on the water, we promise it’s simple, quick, and will make your watercraft look nice. Before you launch, just pull up to the machine, use the vacuum to remove any weeds, water from previous trips from live wells and bilge areas, or other debris from both the inside and outside of your boat or watercraft (we encourage you to also use it on equipment like waders), and the brush to scrub off stuck-on items.

When you are taking your boat out of the water, start by draining all the water out of it, including removing drain plugs and emptying live wells, then use the vacuum to suck out any remaining water. Give both the outside and inside a good going-over with either the brush or vacuum, whichever works best for your craft. The video below walks you through the steps.

These units were funded through a U.S. Department of the Interior and a WISC interagency advisory team determined where to place the units. In addition to WDFW, that team included Washington State Parks, U.S. National Parks Service, Tribal governments, and local jurisdictions including the Chelan, Douglas, and Grant County Public Utility Districts, as well as Chelan and Okanogan Counties. These systems are just two of several in the process of installation as part of a pilot project to test these machines throughout the Columbia River basin. There is currently another, although smaller, one at the Ringold Springs Access Area near Basin City in Franklin County. WDFW and WISC also have a trailer mounted unit available for short-term loan for use at events like fishing tournaments.

If there isn’t a CD3 unit at your preferred access area, you can still do your part. Just follow the steps below.

Infestations of plants like milfoil and organisms such as zebra and quagga mussels can cost millions of dollars to manage once they get into our waters. While these steps might add a little time to your process, in the long term they save us all tax money and can keep your favorite water body healthy for your next trip.

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The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife is dedicated to preserving, protecting and perpetuating the state’s fish and wildlife resources.