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It's the Law

Aquatic Invasive Species


Introducing non-native species into Iowa waters can upset the balance of the ecosystem, thereby harming the environment.

Aquatic invasive species, such as zebra mussels, quagga mussels, milfoil, and purple loosestrife, most often spread between waterways by hitching a ride on vessels and trailers. When transplanted into new waters, these organisms and many other invasive species proliferate, displacing native species and damaging the water resource.

In Iowa, it is illegal to possess, introduce, import, purchase, sell, barter, propagate, or transport aquatic invasive species in any form. It is also illegal to transport on a public road, or place, or attempt to place into waters of the state any water-related equipment that has an aquatic invasive species or aquatic plant attached to or within the water-related equipment. A person violating any of these regulations is subject to a $500 fine. A person shall drain all water from water-related equipment when leaving the waters of the state and before transporting the water-related equipment off a water access area or riparian property. Drain plugs, bailers, valves, or other devices used to control the drainage of water from ballast tanks, bilges, and live wells shall be removed or opened while transporting water-related equipment. A person violating any of these regulations is subject to a $75 fine.

To help protect Iowa waters:

  • Inspect your boat, trailer, and equipment and remove any visible plants, animals, or mud before leaving the area.
  • Drain the water from your boat, motor, live well, and bilge on land before leaving the area.
  • Dispose of unwanted bait in the trash. Never release fish, animals, or plants into a body of water unless they came from that body of water.
  • Rinse or dry your boat, trailer, and fishing equipment to remove or kill species that were not visible when you left a body of water. Before transporting to another body of water, rinse your vessel with high pressure and/or hot water or air-dry it for at least five days.
  • Learn to identify aquatic invasive species, and report any suspected sightings to the nearest DNR fisheries station.