Learning about Aquatic Invasive Species
Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) are plants and animals that have been introduced into new ecosystems, resulting in harm to the habitat or species there, as well as human use of those resources. Invading species often displace beneficial native species, and reduce overall biodiversity. Recognizing new invasions early can allow for prompt control efforts, and perhaps even eradication, protecting the environment and reducing costs. A number of aquatic invasive species (both plants and animals) are already found in Rhode Island’s waters, and preventing their spread to additional waterbodies requires us all to be aware and vigilant – inspect boats before moving from one site to another!
Aquatic plants, often called “weeds” when they grow at densities that interfere with swimming, fishing and crowd out native species, are an important part of our lake and river ecosystems. Plants not only provide food for many animals, but also hide young fish and take up excess nutrients preventing algal blooms. Unfortunately non-native plants that are introduced into our waterbodies do not typically have their natural predators to help keep a natural balance, often resulting in nuisance conditions.
INSPECT boat, trailers and equipment and REMOVE plants, animals, and mud.
- DRAIN water from your boat, motor, bilge, live wells, and bait containers.
- DON’T MOVE live fish away from a waterbody.
- DISPOSE of unwanted bait in the trash.
- RINSE boat and equipment with hot or high pressure water OR dry for at least 5 days.
RI Department of Environmental Management – Aquatic Invasive Species http://www.dem.ri.gov/programs/water/quality/surface-water/aquatic-invasive-species.php
RI Department of Environmental Management Factsheets:
- Variable leaf milfoil (Myriophyllum heterophyllum)
- Eurasian milfoil (Myriophyllum spicatum)
- Parrot feather (Myriophyllum aquaticum)
- Fanwort (Cabomba caroliniana )
- Water chestnut (Trapa natans)
- Curly leaf pondweed (Potamogeton crispus)
- Brazilian elodea (Egeria densa)
- Mudmat (Glossostigma cleistanthum)
- Spiny naiad (Najas minor)
- Inflated bladderwort (Utricularia natans)
- Water hyacinth (Eichhornia crassipes)
- Yellow floating heart (Nymphoides peltata)
- American lotust (Nelumbo lutea)
- Asian clam (Corbicula fluminea)
- Carp (family Cyprinidae)
- Zebra mussels (Dreissena polymorpha)
RI CRMC Invasive Species web page: http://www.crmc.ri.gov/invasives.html
Narragansett Bay Estuary Program Bay Science – Marine Invasive Species:
Invasive Species of Long Island Sound: http://www.seagrant.uconn.edu/whatwedo/ais/listour.php
A guide to aquatic plants identification & management (Minnesota Department of Natural Resources): http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/shorelandmgmt/apg/index.html
Wetland Resource Guide (West Virginia DEP): http://www.dep.wv.gov/WWE/getinvolved/sos/Pages/Wetstudyguide.aspx
Aquatic Plants, Algae & Lakes (Department of Ecology, Washington State): http://www.ecy.wa.gov/Programs/wq/links/plants.html
Virginia Cooperative Extension:
- Pesticides and Aquatic Animals: A Guide to Reducing Impacts on Aquatic Systems: https://pubs.ext.vt.edu/420/420-013/420-013.html
- Control Methods for Aquatic Ponds and Lakes: https://pubs.ext.vt.edu/420/420-251/420-251.html
A Field Guide To Aquatic Exotic Plants And Animals (Minnesota Sea Grant Program): http://www.seagrant.umn.edu/ais/fieldguide
Eutrophication and Aquatic Plant Management in Massachusetts (website): http://www.mass.gov/eea/agencies/dcr/water-res-protection/lakes-and-ponds/eutrophication-and-aquatic-plant-management.html
- Identifying and Managing Aquatic Plants in Ponds (video series): http://extension.psu.edu/natural-resources/water/ponds/aquatic-plants
- Aquatic Plants and Algae Publications: http://extension.psu.edu/natural-resources/water/ponds/pond-management/aquatic-plants
National Invasives Species Information Center – USDA: http://www.invasivespeciesinfo.gov/aquatics/controlplans.shtml
Aquatic Plants Identification Handbook (developed in cooperation with the RI Natural History Survey)
Plant Monitoring Protocol (adapted from from Jo Tempte’s Aquatic Plant Monitoring Procedures: A Self-Help Lake Volunteer Training Manual. Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.)