What are Aquatic Invasive Species?
Aquatic Invasive Species...
- Are non-native plants, animals, and pathogens
- Live primarily in water
- Thrive in a new environment
- Cause economic loss, environmental damage, and harm to human health
Why should I care?
Aquatic invasive species infestations result in a variety of economic and environmental impacts. They can:
- Displace, foul and outcompete native species
- Disrupt entire food webs and decrease native biodiversity
- Bio-accumulate environmental contaminants and spread toxic algal blooms
- Attach to and damage infrastructure, boats, and water conveyance structures
- Clog intake structures and impede the flow of water to municipal water supplies, irrigation operations, and power plants
- Cause long-term taste and odor problems in drinking water
- Make shoreline areas hazardous and uninviting for recreational users and property owners
In Washington, it is against the law to transport aquatic weeds, zebra mussels, or other aquatic invasive species.
How do aquatic invasive species enter our lakes and streams?
- They are accidentally or deliberately released by individuals
- They attach to boat hulls, motors, trailers and recreational equipment
- They attach to float planes
- They can be found in bilge tanks, live wells, and engine cooling water
- They attach to field gear
- They are released from aquariums or bait being emptied
- They can be transferred by waterfowl and other animals
Species of concern:
For a more comprehensive list of species of concern, please visit the links listed to the right under Resources.
What can I do to help?
When boating on Lake Whatcom remember to: Stop Aquatic Hitchhikers! Clean, drain, and dry before launching and before leaving.
- Clean - Remove all aquatic plants, animals, and mud and thoroughly wash everything
- Drain - Drain all water from your boat, trailer, tackle and gear before leaving the area, including wells, bilge, and engine cooling water
- Dry - Allow sufficient time for your boat to completely dry before launching in other waters
Do not release pets, aquatic plants, or aquarium water into the wild.