State environmental officials are asking people boating in Maine waters to check their boats before and after they float.
The Maine Department of Environmental Protection says heavier boat traffic during the summer season increases the risk of spreading invasive plants and animals.
Department officials say boaters should check their vessels for invasive species after they leave one body of water and before launching into another. DEP biologist John McFedron says, for many environmental issues, prevention is the best bet.
"It's the least expensive, and it doesn't lead to further problems that require a lot more money for management and containment or infestations - in this case, infestations of aquatic plants," he says.
And he says that boaters should do a comprehensive survey of their boat, "outside on the trailer, on the motor, on the prop. Look around inside the boat, in the bilge and live well, and remove any matter they find at all."
McFedron says that could include such things as small snails in addition to plants. He says the important thing is to remove the material so it doesn't move from one water body to another.
According to the DEP, no new Maine water bodies have been found to be infested with invasive aquatic plants since last year, but 24 lake systems remain infested.