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New Hampshire

ANS Frequently Asked Questions in New Hampshire

What are aquatic nuisance species (ANS)? Aquatic nuisance species are non-native organisms which threaten the diversity of native plants and animals or the ecological stability of infected waters. They may also lead to negative impacts on the recreational use of New Hampshire 's waters.

Why are aquatic nuisance species a problem? Introducing plants and animals to new habitats is risky. Free from natural predators and competitors, some non-native species reproduce rapidly in their new homes, out-compete native species (leading to their decline or extinction) and become a costly nuisance. In general, invasive species are considered “biological pollutants” that have led to a severe loss of biodiversity and habitat alteration throughout the world.

Are all non-native species considered a nuisance? No. Some non-native species are ecologically harmless.

How do non-native species get into New Hampshire waters?   Many exotic species have been transported to the U.S. in the ballast tanks of ocean-going freighters from European ports. Other introductions result from aquarium releases, escapes from aquaculture facilities, or leftover bait dumped into a lake or stream. Some species, such as zebra mussels, can be transported from one stream or lake to another on boats and trailers, in live-wells and boat motors, and in bait buckets

Why are invasive plants a problem? Invasive plants such as purple loosestrife and Eurasian watermilfoil are aggressive plants that establish themselves quickly in wetlands and inland lakes and out-compete and replace native vegetation. They provide little food or habitat for wildlife, crowd-out plants that are valuable to wildlife, form a dense growth that can block access to the water, or hinder activities such as boating and fishing.

What can I do to help? Learn to recognize aquatic nuisance species. By becoming familiar with native and non-native species citizens can help monitor invasive species populations and slow their spread. You can also learn how to inspect your boat, motor, trailer, and other fishing and boating equipment, to detect the presence of non-native species. Please dispose of unused bait into the trash after first placing species that can crawl out (such as crayfish and worms) into a sealed container. Also, don't transport bait collected from one lake or stream to another. Following these general guidelines will help you avoid transporting non-native species to new locations. Once you become knowledgeable about aquatic nuisance species, you can inform your fishing and boating friends about aquatic nuisance species so that they can also become part of the solution.

How and when can I prevent the spread of aquatic nuisance species into the waters where I recreate? By following the simple procedures described below each time you leave the water, you can help stop aquatic hitchhikers.

  • Remove any visible mud, plants, fish or animals before transporting equipment.
  • Eliminate water from equipment before transporting.
  • Clean and dry anything that came in contact with water (Boats, trailers, equipment, clothing, dogs, etc.).
  • Never release plants, fish, or other animals into a body of water unless they came out of that body of water.

Why should I use this procedure to prevent nuisance species? Because ANS:

  • have negative impacts on fish and waterfowl populations,
  • reduce or eliminate native species and degrade ecosystems
  • render lakes and rivers unusable by anglers, boaters and swimmers,
  • ruin boat engines and jam steering equipment, and
  • reduce property values, and negatively impact the economies of communities which depend on the water.

If I only fish in a certain lake, do I need to follow these general procedures? The one procedure you'll want to be sure to follow is to not introduce anything into that lake. Therefore, don't bring your aquarium from home and dump the contents into the water. Don't accept a fish from another lake (even if it is a big one) to release in your lake. If you borrow someone's equipment, clean it before using in your lake.

You'll also want to inform others about cleaning their equipment before they come to your lake. You might consider working with local authorities to put up signs to that effect around the lake or at public access points on waterways.

If you decide to explore other waters, clean all your equipment before you go, and again, when you return.

If my boat has been in infested waters, do I need to do anything more than general procedures? The longer a boat sits in infested waters, the greater the chance a hitchhiker can attach to your boat, motor, bumpers, live wells, anchors, etc. If you feel a rough surface on the bottom of the boat, propeller, or other items, be sure to clean your boat and equipment using the procedure for boaters under the “Prevention Section” above or click here: http://www.protectyourwaters.net/prevention/user_boaters.php

Do I have to know which aquatic nuisance species are in which lake or river? Not if you follow the recommended procedure every time you leave a body of water. Even if a lake is considered pristine, you never know when an ANS has been introduced, but not yet discovered. So, if you get in the habit of following ANS safety procedures, you'll help protect more waters.

It is helpful to learn about ANS which are common to your area. However, you don't have to know which ANS are in any given lake or stream – as long as you always follow the procedure.

How do I find out more about aquatic nuisance species (ANS) in New Hampshire ? Vi sit the NH Fish and Game Department's web site at www.wildlife.state.nh.us/Fishing/aquatic_nuisance or the NH Department of Environmental Services web site at www.des.state.nh.us/wmb/exoticspecies .

Who do I contact if I find an animal or plant that may be an ANS? Contact the NH Fish and Game Department at 603-271-2501 or the Department of Environmental Services at 603-271-2963.

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Common Hitchhikers

Zebra Mussels
Hydrilla
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)