Farewell to a Top-Notch Invader Crusader

Sep 21, 2016 | Aquatic Invasive Species, Citizen Advocacy

From Clean Boats Clean Waters to Project RED, Tournament Angler Outreach to Youth Outdoor Fest, Shelby Roberts (River Alliance’s 2016 La Crosse Area Aquatic Invasive Species Intern) certainly did her part to Stop Aquatic Hitchhikers this summer.

As summer winds down, we say farewell to Shelby Roberts, our 2016 La Crosse Area Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) Intern. Shelby teamed up with Scott Caven (our La Crosse Area AIS Coordinator) this summer to tackle AIS issues on the Mississippi River and major tributaries in La Crosse, Trempealeau and Buffalo Counties.

Shelby had a busy summer, to say the least, spending hundreds of hours conducting Clean Boats Clean Waters watercraft inspections at high-traffic boat landings, participating in statewide AIS prevention activities including the Landing Blitz, Drain “Ice Your Catch” Campaign, Bait Dealer Initiative and Project Riverine Early Detectors (RED), as well as assisting Caven at trainings, workshops, events, AIS monitoring and control efforts, and educating tournament anglers on AIS at major fishing tournaments on the Upper Mississippi River, including The Bass Federation (TBF) and Fishing League Worldwide (FLW).

When asked to reflect upon her internship this summer, one thing was clear: Shelby is passionate about AIS prevention and protecting our water resources. “I loved supplying the public with AIS information, education and awareness,” stated Roberts. “It gives them the tools they need to help protect our rivers and streams from aquatic invasive species. A prime example of this is conducting Clean Boats Clean Waters watercraft inspections and educating boaters and anglers on AIS.”

Shelby also enjoyed educating a wide variety of stakeholder groups on AIS, including boaters, anglers, paddlers, hunters, conservation groups and the general public – both adults and youth. “Educating stakeholders at the Water Hyacinth and Water Lettuce Monitoring Day was definitely one of my favorite events. Monitoring and removing AIS with fellow river rats and local river heroes gave me a deeper picture of all the hard work that people do to make a difference in our community and on our local waters.”

Another noteworthy event for Shelby was the 2016 Youth Outdoor Fest in La Crosse, where the River Alliance educated over 3,000 people on AIS and the devastating effects they can have on our rivers, streams and creeks. “Youth Outdoor Fest was awesome because we were able to educate today’s youth and ultimately, help create the next generation of river and water allies.” Great job this summer, Shelby!

The River Alliance and Wisconsin’s water resources thank you!