STOPPING AQUATIC HITCHHIKERS
Great Lakes Basin waterways have been beset by invasive, non-native species. Common hitchhikers include purple loose strife, zebra mussels, Eurasian water-milfiol, hydrilla, whirling disease, spiny water fleas, round gobies and water hyacinth.
If conditions are right, these species can overwhelm a water resource, reduce game fish populations, ruin boat engines, make lakes and rivers unusable by swimmers and boaters, reduce native species, degrade ecosystems, reduce property values, and affect human health.
These harmful aquatic plants, animals or microscopic organisms can readily be transported to inland lakes via popular recreational activities. They hitch rides on our clothing, boats, and other items used in the water – then are released when we go to another lake or stream.
Here are some things you should do:
- Remove any visible mud, plants, fish or animals before transporting equipment.
- Eliminate water from equipment before transporting.
- Clean and dry anything in contact with water (boats, trailers, equipment, clothing, pets, etc.)
- Never release plants, fish or animals into a body of water unless they came from that same water.