Clean Boater Program

Preventing the Spread of Aquatic Nuisance Species

Aquatic nuisance species (ANS) are invading coastal and inland waters. More than 50 non-native and 40 species that may not be native have been identified in Long Island Sound. Boaters can unwittingly play a role in spreading ANS. These pests can increase dramatically under the right conditions, degrading habitat and community structure by causing localized extinction of rare and endangered species or displacing native species. They can also choke waterways, thereby impacting navigation and recreation.

Beware of Transporting Plants and Animals

Recreational boating is one way that aquatic plants and animals are moved from water body to water body, thus introducing ANS. Many ANS species of plants and animals have larval forms that are difficult to see with the human eye. Once established ANS in Long Island Sound are nearly impossible to remove. In freshwater systems, there are mechanisms that can curtail growth, but the options are all expensive. ANS can be transported when caught in propellers, intakes, attached to boat hulls, entangled in boat trailers or when live bait from another area is released into a water body.

It is now illegal in Connecticut to transport aquatic plants on vessels or trailers on inland waters. Violation of the law carries a fine of up to $100 per plant and requires a court appearance. Care should also be exercised in transporting ANS within Long Island Sound because localized environmental problems can arise.

Boaters can take an active role in the General Prevention and Impacts of ANS on Connecticut waters. For further information, please visit Aquatic Nuisance Species or contact the DEEP's Boating Division at 860-434-8638.

Tips for Preventing the Spread of Aquatic Nuisance Species
  • Avoid chopping vegetation with your boat’s propeller.
  • Remove all visible aquatic vegetation from boat, propeller, anchor, lines and trailer before leaving any body of water. Discard vegetation in trash away from water and the shore.
  • Drain live wells and bait buckets into suitable containers before leaving the site.
  • Do not throw purchased bait or vegetative packing material from bait into the water when you are done fishing. Small organisms can live on the plant material used to keep the bait moist.
  • Dry out your boat for at least two days (five is best) or wash down hull with tap water on land before launching again.
  • Flush engine cooling system, bilge areas and live wells with tap water.
Content Last Updated on December 26, 2019.