Aquatic invasive species (AIS)
- Are non-native plants, animals, and pathogens
- Thrive in a new environment
- Live primarily in water
- Cause economic loss, environmental damage, and harm to human health
Why should I care?
Aquatic invasive species infestations impact the economy and the environment. They can:
- Displace and outcompete native species
- Disrupt entire food webs and decrease native biodiversity
- Bio-accumulate environmental contaminants and spread toxic algal blooms
- Attach and damage infrastructure, water conveyance structures, and boats
- Clog intake structures and impede the flow of water to municipal water supplies, irrigation operations, and power plants
- Cause long-term taste and odor problems in drinking water
In Washington, it is against the law to transport aquatic weeds, zebra/quagga mussels, or other aquatic invasive species.
How do aquatic invasive species enter our lakes and streams?
- Attached to boat hulls, motors, trailers and equipment
- In bilge tanks, live wells, and standing water
- Attached to field gear
- Released from aquariums or bait live-wells
What can I do to help?
When boating on Lake Whatcom remember to:
Stop Aquatic Hitchhikers! Clean, drain, and dry before launching and before leaving.
- Clean – Remove all aquatic plants, animals, and mud and thoroughly wash everything
- Drain – Drain all water from your boat, trailer, tackle and gear before leaving the area, including wells, bilge, and engine cooling water
- Dry – Allow sufficient time for your boat and gear to completely dry before launching in other waters
Do not release pets, aquatic plants, or aquarium water into the wild.
Species of concern
- Zebra and Quagga Mussels – USGS Distribution Map
- New Zealand Mudsnail – Already in Lake Padden – USGS Distribution Map
- Eurasian Watermilfoil – Already in Lake Whatcom and Lake Terrell (PDF)
- Whatcom Boat Inspection Program
- AIS Awareness Course
- Boat Inspection Data – Story Map
- AIS Program Annual Reports
- Aquatic Invasive Species Action Plan for Lake Whatcom Reservoir