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Protect Your Waters and Stop Aquatic Hitchhikers!

IBEX SOBA welcome

quagga mussel photo

The boating industry and natural resource agencies have a common goal of getting boaters out to enjoy amazing places across the country. But boating access and enjoyment are threatened by the spread of aquatic invasive species - non-native plants and animals that have been introduced to our waters and that can limit our ability to recreate, diminish our fishing opportunities and degrade the very waters we enjoy. Because recreational boats are one way in which these unwanted species are moved from place to place, some states have begun working to help individual boaters avoid unintentionally spreading invasive species by inspecting and washing their boats.

You know boats, we know invasive species. Let’s keep working to minimize the risk that recreational boating contributes to invasives species spread. Together we can decrease the time boaters spend in inspection lines and increase the time and opportunities that boaters spend enjoying our amazing waters.

The links that follow provide information on both the threats and spread of invasive species, what natural resources agencies are doing to help boaters avoid spreading unwanted plants and animal, and steps boaters can take themselves.

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Americans love to spend time on the water. Protecting aquatic resources is important for all users. The spreading of harmful plants, animals and other organisms threatens America's water habitats. Aquatic nuisance species hitch rides on clothing, boats, and items used in the water. When brought to another lake or stream, the nuisance species may spread. If conditions are right, these introduced species become established and cause drastic changes.

Clean Boats Clean Tournaments Video
New! Video helps Stop Aquatic Hitchhikers! by giving a step-by-step how-to for setting up boat washing stations at fishing tournaments.

NEW! Product Catalog. This catalog is a collection of multi-media tools, including signage, brochures, banners and many other valuable outreach materials. Designed to help agencies and partners spread the message of invasive species prevention.

Stopping aquatic hitchhikers requires only a few simple procedures. (Details in the links that follow.)

Simple Preventative Procedures:
Become Informed and Take Action:

History shows recreational users take action if informed. All users can help protect the environment.
Learn more about the aquatic hitchhiker issue:
Aquatic Hitchhikers Can:
Clarification of Terms:

For the purposes of this campaign and the related materials, Aquatic Hitchhikers are defined as non-native, harmful aquatic plants, animals or microscopic organisms that can readily be transported to other waters via popular recreational activities. Different terms will be used interchangeably throughout the campaign to describe aquatic hitchhikers. These terms include: aquatic nuisance species, ANS, aquatic invasive species and non-native, harmful aquatic species. Campaign sponsors use these terms to facilitate a better understanding about the issue and to assist with ease of reading.
Protectyourwaters.net Home Search Link To Us Site Map

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.

Visit Stop Aquatic Hitchhikers on Facebook
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Partnership Opportunities

Become a Partner

Current Partners

State Info Pages

New Hampshire
South Carolina


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)