Protect Your Waters and Stop Aquatic Hitchhikers!As Americans, we love to spend time on the water. Protecting these resources is an important part of our overall enjoyment. A concern we must all address is the spreading of harmful plants, animals and other organisms. These aquatic nuisance species can hitch a ride on our clothing, boats, and items used in the water. When we go to another lake or stream, the nuisance species can be released. And, if the conditions are right, these introduced species can become established and create drastic results.
So what can we do? By following a simple procedure each time we leave the water, we can stop aquatic hitchhikers. Knowing which waters contain nuisance hitchhikers is not as important ---- as doing the procedure every time we leave any lake, stream or coastal area.
- Remove any visible mud, plants, fish or animals before transporting equipment
- Eliminate water from equipment before transporting
- Clean and dry anything that came in contact with water (Boats, trailers, equipment, clothing, dogs, etc.)
- Never release plants, fish or animals into a body of water unless they came out of that body of water.
Become Informed and Take Action!
- We can also become more informed about this issue. As recreational users, history has shown we will take action if informed. We will work to protect our environment if we know what to do. This site is designed to help us learn about the aquatic hitchhiker issue. Navigate through this site to get:
- The latest news about this growing problem
- Detailed procedures to prevent the transport of nuisance species
- Impacts caused by these species
- Facts about some of the more common hitchhikers
- Resources and ideas for you or your club to get involved with prevention efforts
- Support materials to further your understanding of and involvement with the Aquatic Hitchhiker problem.
Why Is This Important?Because these hitchhikers can:
- Reduce game fish populations
- Ruin boat engines and jam steering equipment
- Make lakes/rivers unusable by boaters and swimmers
- Dramatically increase the operating costs of drinking water plants, power plants, dam maintenance, and industrial processes
- Reduce native species
- Degrade ecosystems
- Affect human health
- Reduce property values
- Affect local economies of water-dependent communities.
Clarification of TermsFor the purposes of this campaign and the related materials, Aquatic Hitchhikers are defined as non-native, harmful aquatic plants, animals or microscopic organisms that can readily be transported to other waters via popular recreational activities. Also, different terms will be used interchangeably throughout the campaign to describe aquatic hitchhikers. These terms include: aquatic nuisance species, ANS, aquatic invasive species and non-native, harmful aquatic species. Campaign sponsors use these multiple terms to facilitate a better understanding about the issue and to assist with the ease of your reading.
This infomation was provided by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. For more information, go to their campaign website www.protectyourwaters.net.