Scores of lakes, rivers and streams are under attack by aquatic invaders, which are causing environmental and economic harm. Are you unknowingly helping them? These non-native aquatic plants and animals (some are microscopic) have no predators to keep them in check so they cause havoc. They compete with native and game species for space and food. They pose public health risks and also burden municipal water plants, agriculture, tourism, fisheries and outdoor recreation industries. In many states and provinces, it is illegal to transport aquatic invasive species (AIS) because once established, they are impossible to eliminate. AIS are spreading at a fast rate across the United States. Many are transported to new areas attached to boats or harbored in tiny amounts of water. Therefore, preventing their introduction is the best line of defense and the most cost effective.
Drain all water from motor, bilges, bladder tanks, live bait
wells and any other wet compartments and portable bait
containers. Dispose bait in the trash.
AIS like these quagga mussels are transported to new
areas when they become attached to boats or are
harbored in tiny amounts of water.
Anytime your activities come in contact with any body of water, you are likely to be helping invasive species spread if you don’t take the right precautions. Before your next fishing or boating trip, become familiar with AIS so you can identify them. Then always follow the steps below.
Before leaving any body of water:
•Check everything that came into contact with the water, including every inch of your boat, trailer, canoe, fishing gear, life jackets, etc. Remove and leave behind plants, mud and aquatic life. And because many AIS are microscopic and some species may live for months in water that has not been removed, it’s important to also do the following:
•Drain all standing water from your boat and from all equipment.
•Wash all boat parts and equipment with hot water (140 degrees Fahrenheit) or with a high-pressure spray or use a commercial hot-water car wash.
•Don’t dump leftover bait into the water, unless you collected the bait there.
•Dispose unwanted bait and other animals or aquatic plants in the trash.
•After cleaning, allow equipment to dry for at least five days before entering another waterway.
•Report sightings to a local natural resource agency or Sea Grant office if you suspect a new infestation.