Aquatic hitchhikers can spread in many ways such as on aquatic plants, on recreational equipment, and in water. Fortunately, there are a few simple actions you can take to prevent them from spreading.
- Inspect your boat, trailer, and equipment and remove visible aquatic plants, animals, and mud before leaving the area. Carefully remove all plant fragments before you leave to ensure you are not transporting an invasive plant species or attached zebra mussels.
- Drain water from your boat, motor, bilge, live wells, and bait containers before leaving the area. Many types of invasive species are very small and easily overlooked and can be carried in water. Draining water before you leave the area will reduce the chance that any remaining plants and animals survive.
- Report new sightings. If you suspect a new infestation of an invasive plant or animal, save a specimen and report it to a local natural resource or Sea Grant office.
- Spray, rinse, or dry boats and recreational equipment to remove or kill species that were not visible when leaving a body of water. Before going to another waterway, spray/rinse with high pressure and/or hot tap water (above 104°F) or dry for at least five days.
- Dispose of unwanted bait and other animals or plants in the trash. Releasing live animals and plants in a lake, river, or along the shore often causes invasive species to become established. Identifying fish when they are small is difficult, and it is hard to be absolutely sure there are no invasive fish in your bait bucket.
- Consult the LDWF for information on controlling aquatic invasive species. Do-it-yourself control treatments could be illegal and can make matters worse by harming native fish, wildlife, and plants. Call 225-765-2328 or visit the LDWF website.