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AIS Outreach Campaigns


stop aquatic hitchhikers!

The Stop Aquatic Hitchhikers! campaign is a call to action that empowers recreational users of aquatic resources in the United States and other countries to help stop the spread of harmful aquatic invasive species through outreach and partnerships.


You can help by taking the following actions:

  • Understand the threats of aquatic invasive species.

  • Learn to recognize aquatic invasive species and know where to look for them.

  • Clean, Drain and Dry all watercraft, trailer, motors, and gear every time, everywhere.

  • Never release fish, animals, or plants from one waterbody into another.

  • Report new sightings of aquatic invasive species to the appropriate authorities or use the USGS Sighting Report Form.

  • Help inform others about the threat of aquatic invasive species.

  • Encourage your elected officials to support measures that prevent aquatic invasive species.

For more information, visit


clean, drain, dry

"Clean, drain, dry” is the mantra of modern boating etiquette. It’s also what we should do with all our equipment whenever we travel from one lake, river or stream to another, even if it’s just our wading boots that have gotten wet. Why? Because invasive species are excellent hitchhikers.

Stop the spread with “Clean, Drain, Dry"

Clean your boats, trailers, boots and anything else that gets wet. Check seams and hard-to-reach places. The best location for this is a commercial car wash – high-pressure water will help blast off anything that might be clinging to gear, and the water should drain to a sanitary sewer or septic system. If you cannot get to a car wash, use a brush and clean water to scrub your boat and gear thoroughly. Do this scrubbing and cleaning before leaving the waterbody, or do it where the wash water draining off your gear will not contaminate another creek or lake. If you have been boating in a part of the country with zebra or quagga mussels, you must have your watercraft cleaned with hot water to make sure that all mussels are not only off, but dead.


Once you have cleaned everything, make sure to drain all water from any nook or cranny that may store it. Leave drain plugs out of boats so the bilges can dry. Lastly, dry all gear thoroughly. Do your part to stop invasive species from hitchhiking their way into lakes and other waterbodies. Not only is it the right thing to do, it’s the law!


don't let it loose!

For the health of your pet and the safety of our native wildlife, it's never OK to release pets to the wild. Most pets released to the wild do not survive, and many suffer before they die. Pets are usually unable to find food or shelter in the wild and they are often an easy meal for another creature. If it does manage to survive, your pet becomes an invasive species that native wildlife may not have the defenses to compete against. Invasive species cause harm to the environment and the economy.

If you have a pet you find you can no longer care for, you need to find it a new home – and never, ever, release your pet to the wild. If you are not able to place your pet with another caring owner, your best course is to contact an animal shelter, agency or even a pet store near you. The knowledgeable personnel in these places can help you find the right place for your pet. Use the resources on this website to locate the help you need!

For more information,


play, clean, go

For more information, visit

  • Arrive with clean gear

  • Burn local or certified firewood

  • Use local or weed-free hay

  • Stay on the trails

  • Before leaving, remove mud and seeds

1. Come clean. Before leaving home, inspect and remove dirt, plants, and bugs from clothing, boots, gear, pets, and vehicles.


2. Use only local or certified firewood. Before camping, check for any firewood restrictions at your intended campsite. Shop ahead of time to locate a source of firewood near your campsite. Burn all the wood you bring or leave it onsite.

3. Use weed-free or certified hay when horseback riding or for other purposes. If weed-free hay is not available, use straw because it is less likely to carry weed seeds.


4. Stay on designated trails when walking, hiking, biking, or riding your horse or OHV.


5. Leave clean. Before leaving your campsite, remove any dirt, plants, or bugs from equipment. 

6. Be informed about invasive species that are a problem in your area. If you see them for sale at your local nursery, let them know about your concerns. Learn about and use native plants that grow well in your area. Avoid nonnative plants that self-seed because they may move outside your garden.

Ask about the source of the plants you buy. 

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