Trout Unlimited, Alaska Program, ran radio and print ads during this summer's busy fishing season to alert people to the dangers of aquatic invasive species and offer tips for how they can help curb the spread of these noxious creatures by inspecting, cleaning and drying their waders. The ad campaign targeted Alaska's population centers of Anchorage and the Mat-Su Valley and also fishing hotspot communities along the Kenai Peninsula.
Freshwater aquatic invasive species (AIS) such as New Zealand Mudsnails, Zebra Mussels, Atlantic Salmon, Northern Pike, Didymo and Whirling Disease have created havoc within many rivers and lakes in the Lower 48. Although Alaska waters remain relatively pristine at this point, the state's waterways are not immune from the problem and are in fact facing increased threats from these aquatic hitchhikers brought in from beyond Alaska's borders.
Recent studies show that one angler carries about 17 grams of sediment on their wading boots and waders. That's one pound for every 26 anglers. Many aquatic invasive species are transported via this sediment. Considering the number of anglers that fish on places like the Kenai and Russian Rivers, the Bristol Bay drainages and many other places that's a lot of sediment (and potentially unwanted species) potentially introduced to state waters.