Invasive Aquatic Plant and Animal Species

Cartoon crab with vacation attireInvasive Aquatic Species

Non-native aquatic plant and animal species are invading California's coastal and inland waters where they have the potential to clog channels, impact recreation, and displace native species. When invasive species are introduced, native species must compete for habitat and often fall prey to foreign diseases against which they have no natural defenses. Once non-native species are introduced, they are nearly impossible to eliminate. Non-native species can be accidentally transported and introduced into water bodies when:

  • They get caught in propellers or intakes, or are attached to hulls
  • Unused live bait is dumped into the water
  • Commercial vessels dump ballast water

Prevent the Spread of Invasive Aquatic Species

  • Quagga MusselDrain live-wells, bilge water, and transom wells before leaving the vicinity where you used your boat.
  • After leaving the water, inspect your boat and boat accessories and dispose of any plants or animals you find by placing them in the garbage bin.
  • Empty bait buckets on land, away from the water, and never into the water.
  • Never dip your bait or minnow bucket into a lake if it contains water from another lake.
  • Never dump live fish or other organisms from one body of water into another one.
  • When you get home, wash your boat, tackle, downriggers, and if possible your trailer with hot water.
  • Flush water through your boat motor cooling system and other parts of the boat that normally get wet.
  • If possible, let everything dry for five days in the hot sun before using your boat in another body of water.

Check the Aquatic Hitchhikers Program and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife to learn more about how to prevent the spread of invasive species.