Non-indigenous aquatic nuisance species such as zebra mussels, purple loosestrife, Eurasian watermilfoil, and Phragmites can damage habitat for fish, waterfowl, and other wildlife. Waterfowl hunters should be aware that it is possible to inadvertently spread aquatic nuisance species from one lake or wetland by way of boats, motors, trailers, and decoys. Waterfowlers should assume that any aquatic plant fragments could be potentially harmful and should not be transported from one wetland, lake, river, or coastal area to another. In addition, zebra mussels and their microscopic larvae can attach to aquatic plants. If aquatic plant fragments are transported, they could inadvertently transport zebra mussels to other waters.
What waterfowl hunters can do to help:
Before the hunting season
Switch to elliptical, bulb-shaped, or strap anchors on decoys, which avoid collecting submersed and floating aquatic plants.
If boats are moored in waters infested with zebra mussels, use these tips for removing or killing zebra mussels or other aquatic plants and animals that might be in or on your boat:
- remove any visible zebra mussels and wash/rinse with hot water; or
- spray with high-pressure water; or
- dry all parts of the boat for at least five days.
Inspect waders or hip-boots, remove aquatic plants, and where possible rinse mud from them before leaving those waters.
Remove aquatic plants, animals, and mud that are attached to decoy lines or anchors.
- Drain the water from boats before transporting to other waters.
Between hunting trips
Inspect equipment for any aquatic plants, animals, and mud that was not removed after hunting; remove and dispose of on land away from water.