An increasing number of non-native aquatic plants and animals are invading the waters of Vermont. When moved into new waters, these species rapidly multiply, causing significant economic and ecological damage. Here are aquatic nuisance species commonly found in Vermont.
Eurasian Watermilfoil: Eurasian watermilfoil is a prolific aquatic plant found in Lake Champlain and many inland lakes in Vermont. It interferes with boating and displaces native plants. It is spread easily when plant fragments are caught and moved on boat trailers, propellers, anchors, or in wet wells. Plant fragments can initiate new plants and become well established.
Zebra Mussel: Zebra mussels are tiny D-shaped mollusks and are well established in Lake Champlain. They can clog water intake pipes, damage vessel engines, obscure historic shipwrecks, and alter native species populations. Adult zebra mussels can attach and be moved on vessel hulls, engines, and other equipment. Microscopic larvae can get trapped and moved in the water of vessel engines, bilges, bait buckets, and live wells.
Water Chestnut: Water chestnut is a prolific annual plant found in southern Lake Champlain, Lake Bomoseen, and a few inland lakes. It interferes with boating, hunting, and fishing; and it displaces native plants. It is spread by seeds or rosettes caught in vessels and equipment.
Alewife: Alewife is a small bait fish recently found in Lake St. Catherine. Alewife may displace smelt and other native forage fish. It can be introduced to new bodies of water if accidentally or intentionally caught and used for bait or if dumped from bait buckets or live wells.