Invasive Species Control is a difficult issue because of the wide diversity of species involved. Some advocate use of chemicals for controlling invasive species. Others advocate non-chemical means to control these invasive hitchikers.
In Colorado signs warning about New Zealand Mud Snail infection in a stream or lake also maintain a 50% solution of 409 cleaner in a gallon of water will kill these critters. This recommendation is based on a California study. The only thing is the California study used commercial grade 409 found in Lowe’s, Home Depot or other commercial cleaning supply houses. This type of 409 is much more powerful than the grocery story kind. If you have noticed, refill bottles of 409 are no longer available in many grocery stores. [ Also 409 is not approved by the EPA for invasive species control. Doing so in fact is breaking the law. Further 409 does not control whirling disease, zebra mussels or a host of other invasive species. (1) ]
The list of procedures to control or prevent spreading Invasive Species can be applied to anglers, boaters and aquarium owners. Procedures include:
- Physical Removal of all visible mud, plant material, fish/animals, sand or other debris from waders, wading boots, boats and equipment before leaving a stream, lake, pond, or other body of water.
- Water Removal – from boat motors, jet drives, live wells, scuba regulators and tanks, recreational swim equipment, boots, waders, bait buckets, seaplane equipment.
- Cleaning Recommendations
- Wash your dog with as warm water as possible and brush its coat.
- Use 400C or 1040 or hotter water to clean your equipment. Salt water is also a good cleaning agent. If hot water is not available, use a high pressure sprayer to clean boats, floats, decoys and similar equipment.
- Chemical Alternatives to 409 or for equipment that cannot be exposed to hot water
Dipping equipment into 100% vinegar for 20 minutes will kill aquatic hitchhikers.
A 1% salt solution dip for 24 hours can be used in place of the vinegar process.
This table provides correct mixtures for the 1 % salt solution in water:
Gallons of Water Cups of Salt 5 2/3 10 1 ¼ 25 3 50 6 1/4 100 12 2/3
- Drying Equipment Thoroughly for at least 5 days before using in new waters.
- Proper Disposal of Aquarium Contents and leftover live bait
- Aquarium Content Disposal - Children can exercise considerable influence over parents when it comes time to dispose of aquatic pets. Parents need to educate children that pouring the contents of an aquarium into a body of water or storm drain may be harming the streams and lakes all over the country. Such disposal of an aquarium may be killing other fish, animals and plants that are already growing in lakes and streams. If a home can’t be found for the aquarium and contents, bury the critters and dump any water in the yard far away from storm drains.
- Bait Disposal - may be a problem. Bait may not be native to the area you are fishing. Bait can carry disease or aquatic hitchikers so proper disposal is important. Leftover bait should be put in a trash can or on land far enough from water resources so they are not impacted. Dispose of leftover bait water on land far from storm drains or water resources. Improper disposal consists of pouring water or left over bait back into a stream or lake. The bait may have come from an area not native to where it is being used. Such a disposal practice may introduce disease or invasive hitchhikers into your favorite lake or stream.
Reference for these control procedures — www.protectyourwaters.org
The Federation of Fly Fishers (1) has a slightly different take on control measures. The FFF does not support the use of chemicals for cleaning boots, waders, boats or other recreational equipment. The FFF supports three main methods to control the spread of invasive species.
- Inspect – your equipment for dirt, plants or animals before moving to another stream, lake or body of water.
- Clean - your gear with clean water. Without the use of chemicals, your gear can be cleaned in the water you have been fishing thus leaving what you may have picked up in the same water. Using high pressure water will help remove the small hitchhikers you may not see.
- Thoroughly dry your gear each time you use it.
- Never transport any fish, plants or animals from one body of water to another
- Switch to boot foot waders with studded rubber lug soles to make cleaning gear easier.
- Take the Clean Angling Pledge and encourage others to do the same.
Please do your part and help to control the spread of invasive species. What you do just might mean the difference in your favorite fishery surviving.