You don’t have to look far to see plant and animal invaders
from another ecosystem. Most lawn grasses and weeds have been transported
by humans from Europe and other places. Popular sport fish, like the German
brown trout, and common carp, were purposely introduced in Pennsylvania watersheds by fish and wildlife agencies.
The vast majority of Pennsylvania’s introduced species are harmless,
but a few, perhaps one in one hundred, are considered invasive species.
What are Aquatic Invasive Species?
Aquatic Invasive species...
- are non-native plants, animals, or pathogens
- Live primarily in water
- Thrive in a new environment
- Cause harm to the environment, the economy, and human health
Why are AIS such a problem?
Invasive species are considered a form of biological pollution. They often behave much the same as other forms of pollution, disrupting ecosystems
and reducing biodiversity. AIS can....
prey on native species,
like the flathead catfish, recently introduced to the Delaware River.
The Flathead has a huge appetite for a variety of fish;
with native species, like purple loosestrife that can
take over a marsh or wetland by crowding out native plants;
ecosystems, like nutria that dig channels that convert
productive, green wetlands of the Chesapeake into barren mud flats;
diseases, like the Canada goose that can spread bacteria
and viruses and excess nutrients in their waste;
economic damage, like the zebra mussel that is estimated
to cost the Great Lakes $100 to $400 million (that’s $400,000,000)
each year to control.
How can I prevent the Spread of AIS?
Once invasive species become established, they are very difficult to control, and often times impossible to eradicate. Therefore, prevention remains our first line of defense against the arrival and spread of invaders in Pennsylvania.
Many aquatic invasive species are virtually invisible, and can easily hitch a ride on boats, boat trailers, fishing equipment, diving equipment, or even wet clothing in contact with the water. These hitchhikers can then be transported to different water ways.
Protect Pennsylvania’s waterways by following these guidelines:
- Check for and remove plants, mud, and aquatic life from boat and equipment before transporting
- Drain water from boat, live well, bilge, and bait bucket before transporting
- Clean boat and gear with hot water OR
- Dry everything for at least five days