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New Hampshire
Help protect New Hampshire's waters by learning what you can do to Stop Aquatic Hitchhikers. Aquatic nuisance species spread quickly, wreak havoc on native plants and animals, degrade the quality of aquatic resources and make waters unusable for boating fishing and swimming.
Understanding Aquatic Hitchhikers

Aquatic nuisance species includes both plants and animals such as zebra mussels, exotic milfoil and fish. They can easily be transported to new waters by boats, motors, trailers, fishing equipment, livewells, bait buckets, diving gear, and other aquatic recreational equipment. They can also be put into our waters by individuals who are not aware of the environmental and economic damages these nuisance plants and animals can cause.

The quality of New Hampshire 's waters are extremely valuable both as a natural and economic resource. In addition to providing essential aquatic habitat, New Hampshire 's waters annually provide 14.7 million visitor days for boating, fishing, and swimming, which are popular family-oriented recreational activities that generate more than $1 billion to the State's economy each year. Your help is needed to protect these resources

What You Can Do to Protect New Hampshire Waters

Prevention is the Key. Preventing the spread of aquatic nuisance species is the most environmentally sound and cost-effective method for battling aquatic hitchhikers. If these species become established, they can be impossible to contain and control.

Know and follow New Hampshire Laws . Whether you're an angler, gardener, pet owner or retail outlet that sells aquatic products, it's important to know New Hampshire laws. It is illegal to release any amphibian, reptile, or fish without first obtaining special permits issued by the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department. (Anglers may practice catch-and-release fishing, but the fish can only be released back into the same waters.) Additionally, the sale, distribution, importation, purchase, propagation, transportation, or introduction of exotic aquatic weeds into the state is prohibited. To learn more about the law and a description of prohibited and allowable species click here.

Dispose of bait properly . If you're fishing with live bait, do not dump unused bait into the water, even if it is a native species or on the approved list. Dumping your bait into waters can introduce disease and nuisance species that may potentially be mixed in with the bait. The best way to dispose of bait is by placing it in a sealed container in the trash.

Clean recreation equipment . Anglers and boaters can prevent the transport of aquatic nuisance species by cleaning all recreational equipment. Whenever you leave a body of water:

  • Remove any visible mud, plants, fish or animals.
  • Drain water from equipment (engine water intake systems, bilge, live wells, bait buckets).
  • Clean and dry anything that comes into contact with water (boats, trailers, equipment, etc.)
  • Never release plants, fish or animals into a body of water unless they came out of that body of water.

For details on what to look for or how to go about the above click here.

Learn more . Some recreational users want to know more and also get involved in local programs that help to protect their waters. Search the various links throughout the site to learn about specific types of nuisance species, the kinds of impact they can create, and the different ways you can get involved in this issue.

New Hampshire Aquatic Nuisance Species (ANS) of Primary Concern

While there are many potential nuisance species, the following list present the most immediate threat to New Hampshire . Click on a species to learn more.


Zebra Mussels (and other Great Lakes ANS)

Aquatic and Wetland Plants

Variable milfoil
Eurasian milfoil
Water chestnut
Yellow floating heart
Brazilian elodea

Parrot feather
European naiad
Curly-leaf pondweed
Common reed
Flowering rush
Purpose loosestrife  

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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.

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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)