Common Nuisance Species
Introducing non-native species into Ohio waters can upset the balance of the ecosystem, thereby harming the environment. Aquatic nuisance species, such as zebra mussels, quagga mussels, milfoil, and hydrilla, most often spread between waterways by hitching a ride on vessels and trailers. When transplanted into new waters, these organisms proliferate, displacing native species and damaging the water resource.
Preserving and protecting our water resources is a challenge for all. As boaters, your recreation is made richer when operating in clean water. By doing your part to keep waterways clean and prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species, you can ensure pleasurable boating experiences for the future.
Aquatic invasive species are a serious threat to Ohio's waterways. Introducing harmful non-native organisms into a lake, river or bay can lead to environmental degradation and millions of dollars in control and clean-up costs, all of which affect boaters. As a general practice, following the checklist shown on the next page after each use of your boat will prevent the spread of most aquatic invasive species.
Non-native Invasive Species
Zebra Mussels are about the size of a human fingernail. Yet these little creatures cause hundreds of millions of dollars in damage across the United States and pose a serious threat to water supplies, industrial processing, transportation and recreation.
Several other recent invaders of the Great Lakes also are cause for serious concern. Goby (pronounced "go-be") populations are expanding and displacing native species. The goby is a bottom-dwelling fish known for being aggressive and voracious feeders. The spiny water flea and the fish-hook flea, nearly microscopic crustaceans, are gradually replacing their native counterparts. They have long spines that make it difficult for small fish to capture and digest them. These species disrupt the food chain and adversely affect native fish species.
Nonindigenous aquatic plants
Purple loosestrife, Eurasian watermilfoil, hydrilla and water hyacinth quickly establish themselves and can displace native plants. Environmental and economic problems caused by these weeds include impairment of water-based recreation, navigation and flood control; degradation of water quality and fish and wildlife habitat; and accelerated filling of lakes and reservoirs.
For more information visit the website of Ohio Sea Grant at http://ohioseagrant.osu.edu/.