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Missouri is the home to well known rivers such as the Missouri and Mississippi , and popular lakes such as Lake of the Ozarks , Table Rock Lake and Bull Shoals Lake. Protecting these resources is everyone's responsibility if we expect them to provide future enjoyment and economic benefits. Help protect Missouri 's waters by learning what you can do to Stop Aquatic Hitchhikers.

Understanding Aquatic Hitchhikers
What can you do to Stop Aquatic Hitchhikers in Missouri ?

Prevention is the key
Clean all recreational equipment
Dispose of bait properly
Learn more

•  Watch Out for Flying Carp!
•  Missouri Aquatic Nuisance Species of Primary Concern

Understanding Aquatic Hitchhikers

"Aquatic nuisance or invasive species" are species unintentionally or illegally introduced to waters and aquatic ecosystems, which cause physical and economic damages to our recreational, commercial, environmental, cultural and historic resources and public health.

Some aquatic nuisance species can hitch a ride on our boats, trailers, and other items used in the water. When we go to another lake or stream, the nuisance species can be released; if the conditions are right, they can become established and create drastic results.

What can you do to Stop Aquatic Hitchhikers?

Prevention is Key. Preventing the spread of aquatic nuisance species it the most environmentally sound and cost-effective method for battling aquatic hitchhikers. If these species become established, they can be impossible to contain and control.

Clean all recreational equipment before and after using all Missouri waters. Follow a simple prevention procedure before and after using all waters. If you follow these procedures, it is not necessary to know what nuisance species may be in what waters; the procedures will reduce the possibility of any unwanted hitchhikers being released in your waters.

Where to look for hitchhikers

Dispose of Bait Properly. If you're fishing with live bait, it is important to dispose of your bait properly and particularly to not dump unused bait into the water. Dumping your bait into waters can introduce disease and nuisance species such as Asian Carp and the non-native rusty crayfish and other species which can become established and compete with native species. Most bait can be put in the trash, but species such as crayfish and worms, which have the potential to crawl out of the trash, should first be placed in a sealed container (such as a sealable plastic bag) before disposed of in the trash. Even if you plan to reuse the bait on another trip, make sure lids are securely attached so they cannot escape. Crayfish can live a long time out of water and are excellent escape artists, so the likelihood of them walking to another body of water and contaminating it is quite possible.

Learn More. Some recreational users want to know more and also get involved in local programs that help to protect their waters. Search the various links throughout this site to learn about specific types of nuisance species, the kinds of impacts they can create, or activities in which you can get involved, For Missouri specific information visit the Missouri Web site.

Watch Out for "Flying Carp!"

Boaters need to take precautions when boating on the Missouri and Mississippi rivers and their backwaters and tributary streams due to the unfortunate fact that Asian carp have become residents in these waters. Easily startled , silver carp leap out of the water when disturbed by noise or vibrations. Boaters are occasionally injured or even knocked out of their boats. Read the press release on Flying Carp to learn how to protect yourself and how to keep from spreading these potential hitchhikers.

Missouri Aquatic Nuisance Species of Primary Concern

While there are many potential aquatic nuisance species, the following present the most immediate threat in Missouri:


Missouri FAQ

Locations of Purple Loosestrife in Missouri

MO Bait Shop Survey
Invasive Species: The Search for Solutions Issn: 0006-3568
Journal: BioScience Volume: 54 Issue: 7 Pages: 615-621
Authors: Dybas, Cheryl Lyn

Press Releases

Properly Dispose of Fishing Bait

Help Stop Aquatic Hitchhikers in MO

Stop Zebra Mussels in MO

Watch Out for Flying Carp While Boating

Missouri Department of Conservation

Look for these yellow signs all along the Missouri River

Asian Bighead Carp

Asian carp can be a potential safety hazard for boaters

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The Stop Aquatic Hitchhikers web site is part of the ANS Task Force public
awareness campaign and is sponsored by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
and the U.S. Coast Guard.

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Current Partners

State Info Pages

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Check out the Latest News about the Stop Aquatic Hitchhiker Campaign and the aquatic hitchhiker problem.

Common Hitchhikers

Zebra Mussels
Whirling Disease
Spiny Water Fleas
Round Gobies
Water Hyacinth

Video Clips
Asian Carp in the Upper Mississippi River
(Real Video format)

Round Goby
(Quicktime Format)
New Audio Messages for Traveler Information Systems
Zebra Mussel (mp3)
Zebra Mussel #2 (mp3)