Invasive Aquatic Animals

If you've spent time fishing, swimming, or boating in the Lower 48, you know that freshwater aquatic invasive species such as New Zealand Mudsnails, Zebra Mussels, and Whirling Disease have caused economic and ecological havoc to many rivers and lakes. Although Alaska seems isolated from the potential damage that these aquatic invasive species bring, Alaska's rivers and lakes are at a higher risk than ever. Many of these aquatic hitchhikers have already been reported in numerous Alaskan rivers and lakes. But you and your friends and family can help stop the spread of aquatic invasives! New USFWS Invasive Species PSA with TV Personality Laura Schara

Biggest Threats to Alaska's Waterways

Pike in Southeast Alaska. Photo courtesy of the Alaska Department of Fish and Game

New Zealand Mudsnails. Photo courtesy of the Washington Department of Fish and Game

Northern Pike

New Zealand Mud Snail

Prevent the Introduction and Spread of Aquatic Invasive Animal Species

Inspect Your Boat and Fishing Equipment! There are lots of places invasive aquatic plants can hide, Figure courtesy of New York State Department of Environmental ConservationClean. Before leaving a body of water, remove all visible plant, mud, sediment, or critter material from your equipment, boat, floatplane, waders, boots, and other clothing after each excursion. Then wash it clean in the water you are leaving. If possible, wash equipment with hot water or a high-pressure washer when returning home.

Drain. Empty all water from coolers, bilge pumps, buckets, motors, jet drives, seaplane floats and wring out gear before leaving the boat launch or fishing area.

Dry. Thoroughly drying your equipment will kill many invaders that you may have picked up. Completely dry gear between water systems or trips. If possible, allow for 5 days of drying time before entering new waters.
Reminder: Leave your felt-soled wading shoes at home. As of January 1, 2012, footgear with absorbent felt or other fibrous material on the soles are prohibited while sport fishing in the fresh waters of Alaska. 

Don’t Release Non-native Animals:

Aquariums: If your family gets tired of its aquarium or aquatic pets, do not release anything from the aquarium (water, plants, fish or animals) into or near a body of water or storm drain. Explain to your children how you could be hurting all of the streams and lakes around the country and killing other fish and animals that already live in the water.
Bait: Whether you have obtained bait at a store or from another body of water, do not release unused bait into the waters you are fishing. If you do not plan to use the bait in the future, dump the bait in a trashcan or on the land, far enough away from the water that it cannot impact this resource.

Invasive Species and ALASKA coloring page

Download and print the Invasive Species and Alaska Color and Learn!


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