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SDGFP joins national BUI campaign

South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks joins national campaign to raise awareness of dangers associated with boating under the influence

As part of the annual Operation Dry Water campaign, the South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks (GFP) will join in the nationally coordinated effort to educate boaters about the dangers of boating while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. The mission of Operation Dry Water is to reduce the number of alcohol- and drug-related accidents and fatalities on the water.

Operation Dry Water weekend, July 5-7, is the national weekend of amplified recreational boater outreach, education and coordinated enforcement surrounding boating under the influence. Alcohol use continues to be the leading known contributing factor in recreational boater deaths and a leading contributor in boating accidents. GFP is reaching out to our community to encourage those who will be spending time on the water to engage in safe boating practicing, which includes keeping alcohol off the boat for both operators and passengers.

“Recreational boating is an activity enjoyed by people and families nationwide. Our goal is to not only educate boaters on the dangers of drinking alcohol and boating, but also to remind them of other safe boating practices, such as enrolling in a boater education course and always wearing a life jacket,” says Joe Keeton, Boating Law Administrator. “Alcohol impairs judgment and reaction time on the water even more so than it does in a car because of the added stressors of sun, heat, wind, noise and the vibrations of the boat. GFP wants everyone to have a great summer on the water, and to do that boaters must remain sober and alert while underway.”

As part of Operation Dry Water weekend law enforcement in every U.S. state and territory, will be out at marinas and on the water educating boaters about safe boating practices and removing impaired operators from our waterways.

The GFP is asking boaters to enjoy this boating season and help keep everyone safe by not drinking alcohol while on the water, or operating a boat after you have consumed alcohol. Use of both legal and illegal drugs also impairs judgment and reaction time and makes it dangerous to operate a boat. In 2018, 494 impaired operators were removed by law enforcement across the country during the Operation Dry Water three-day weekend.

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Boaters can learn more about boating under the influence by visiting operationdrywater.org. Operation Dry Water is coordinated nationally by the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA) in partnership with the U.S. Coast Guard.

Large common carp die off on Lake Francis Case

Over the past several days, Game, Fish and Parks (GFP) has been receiving reports of a large fish kill in the Lake Andes and North Bay area of Lake Francis Case.

GFP field staff have been on the scene and are reporting that the dead fish are almost exclusively common carp. Staff have collected a few of the fish and sent them to South Dakota State University for further study. “At this point, we believe it is a carp-specific virus,” said area fisheries supervisor, Chris Longhenry.

“Fish kills like this usually occur when fish are stressed from spawning," said Longhenry. "A rapid decline in oxygen in the water can also be a factor as warm water typically holds less dissolved oxygen than cold water; meaning that in the summer months, oxygen is already more limited for fish and other aquatic animals."

GFP would like to assure anglers and recreational users that summer fish kills are not new and in most cases are not indicative of water pollution or illegal activity.

GFP staff will continue to monitor the situation. Anglers who observe a summer fish kill are encouraged to report it to a local GFP office or conservation officer.

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