The introduction and spread of aquatic invasive species (AIS) impacts the health of Vermont's waterbodies and aquatic communities by changing the surrounding ecosystem, and out-competing native species for food and habitat.
Nearly 50 non-native aquatic species are already established in Vermont waters, they include:
- Plants like Eurasian watermilfoil and water chestnut
- Invertebrates like zebra mussels and spiny waterflea
- Fish such as alewife, rudd, and tench
- Fish diseases and parasites such as largemouth bass virus, Whirling Disease, and Heterosporis, which affects the muscle tissue of fish such as perch and walleye
What is the Threat?
Any equipment used on or in the water can collect and spread AIS. While some AIS are easy to see, such as Eurasian watermilfoil stuck on a boat trailer, others are too small to be noticed, such as spiny waterflea, larval zebra mussels, or viruses and bacteria that cause fish diseases.
Boats, kayaks, trailers, fishing equipment, scuba gear and other items can spread AIS from water to water unless properly cleaned, dried or disinfected after use.
What is Being Done?
Preventing the introduction of new AIS and the spread of established AIS to new waters is critical to protecting the health of Vermont's aquatic ecosystems.
- Vermont has laws and policies prohibiting the transport and introduction of aquatic plants and aquatic nuisance species.
- Public Access Boat Greeter Program and other educational programs are in place to inform water recreationists about invasive species spread prevention measures.
Do Your Part
Invasive species can reduce the quality of Vermont's recreational angling opportunities we all enjoy. it is everyone's responsibility to follow the law by cleaning, draining and drying boats, trailers, waders and other aquatic gear to prevent the transport of AIS.