Invasive Pests

Before You Boat, Know What You Tote...

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Are you contributing to the weed problems that you hate in the ponds and lakes and rivers that you fish?

It's very easy to launch a boat, spend the day fishing, pull your boat out and head for the house at the end of your trip and not think anything about the "unwanted hitchhikers" you've picked up and brought home! It might not become a problem until youlaunch your boat again in another lake or river and the "hitchhiker" finds a new home to infest. Throughout the southeast, millions of dollars are spent annually controlling the spread of unwanted or "nuisance" aquatic weeds like hydrilla and other pests like zebra mussels.

The control of nuisance aquatic weeds and other aquatic pests is also one of our missions here on Fort Stewart and Hunter Army Airfield.

You Can Help...

Here's how you can help to prevent the spread of exotic weeds and other pests:

  • Look for "Warning Signs" for exotic and nuisance weed species near boat launch sites.
  • Hand-remove all materials (plant or animal) from your boat, motor, trailer and fishing gear when you leave a waterbody. Pay special attention to the bunks or rollers where the boat is seated on the trailer. Don't throw the material back into the water! Dispose of it far away from the water, such as in a garbage can or keep them for your home compost pile.
  • Wash and dry all equipment before reuse. Hose off the boat, outboard motor, electric motor or trailer.
  • Drain and flush the engine cooling system and live wells of your boat, and your bait bucket that's been in contact with an infested waterbody (to protect against the spread of nuisance weeds and exotic pests like zebra mussels).
  • Help spread the word -- Know What You Tote.

Some of our problem aquatic weeds include: variable-leaf milfoil, hydrilla, coontail, naiad, and filamentous algae.

Milfoil, like many of the species listed above, reproduces by a process called “fragmentation.” Milfoil plants easily break into small pieces and each piece can form roots. A single wisp can multiply into 250 million new plants in one year. Milfoil and other plants are readily spread between lakes and rivers by boaters carrying plant fragments on their boats and trailers.

boat trailer watermilfoil

Is your trailer carrying unwanted "hitchhikers" like the milfoil to the right?

A few other pests...

Figure 5.

Filamentous algae or "horse hair" Giant Salvinia

Hydrilla Coontail